Evan Williams

Is it credible that my generation could be so special? Literally hundreds of generations have thought that they had the right moral values. Two thousand years ago, the Romans—the imperialistic, crucifying, slave-owning Romans—were congratulating themselves on being Bcivilized,^ because unlike the Bbarbarians^ they had abolished human sacrifice. This was genuine progress, but what they did not realize was that thousands of years’ additional progress remained to be made. We are in the same position: we know how much progress is embodied in our values, but not how much progress remains to be made in the future. This, then, is the Inductive Worry: most cultures have turned out to have major blind spots in their moral beliefs, and we are in much the same epistemic situation as they are, so we will probably also turn out to have major moral blind spots.

Evan Williams, ‘The Possibility of an Ongoing Moral Catastrophe’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, vol. 18, no. 5 (November, 2015), p. 974