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    Reflective equilibrium (RE)-the idea that we have to justify our judgments and principles through a process of mutual adjustment-is taken to be a central method in philosophy. Nonetheless, conceptions of RE often stay sketchy, and there is a striking lack of explicit and traceable applications of it. This paper presents an explicit case study for the application of an elaborate RE conception. RE is used to reconstruct the arguments from Thomson's paper "Turning the Trolley" for why a bystander must not divert a runaway trolley from five workmen onto one. Analyzing Thomson's resulting position with the RE-criteria has two main results: Firstly, the adjustment of one of her commitments can be defended. Secondly, no justified position in RE was reached. With respect to RE as a method, the main results from this application are: (1) There is at least one conception of RE that is sufficiently specified to be applicable; (2) the RE criteria put real constraints on the process of justification; and (3) an explicit application of RE has benefits in terms of clarity while at the same time providing guidance for how the justificatory process could be continued. © The Author(s) 2022.


    Tanja Rechnitzer. Turning the trolley with reflective equilibrium. Synthese. 2022;200(4):272

    PMID: 35765512

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