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  1. Is Morality Subjective?Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Subjectivists claim that the absence of a theological or metaphysical grounding to moral judgements renders them all as simply statements about our subjective wants and preferences. Leslie Allan argues that the subjectivists' case rests on a misunderstanding of the nature of moral objectivity. He presents the view that subjectivists mistakenly counterpoise the ideal of moral objectivity with the expression of individual preferences. Being objective in moral deliberation, Allan argues, should be regarded instead as the antithesis of parochial and biased reasoning. (...)
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  2. Joyce as a Moral Anatomist.Robert Bass - manuscript
    The cover illustration for Richard Joyce’s elegant and powerful recent work, The Evolution of Morality, is a reproduction of an oddly fascinating and disturbing sixteenth-century engraving, the Anatomia del corpo humano. One has to examine the image for a minute to realize that the standing human figure, stripped of skin, and with muscles, tendons and joints revealed, holds the anatomist’s knife in his left hand and that, with his right, he holds up the single piece of skin, from bearded face (...)
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  3. Is Morality Subjective? – A Reply to Critics.Leslie Allan -
    Leslie Allan defends his thesis that ethics is objective in the sense of requiring moral agents to offer impartial reasons for acting. Radical subjectivists have attacked this requirement for impartiality on a number of grounds. Some critics make the charge that Allan's thesis is simply a version of subjectivism in disguise. He responds by showing how a broadly naturalist view of ethics accommodates objective moral constraints. Allan also counters cases in which impartiality is purportedly not morally required and considers the (...)
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  4. Autonomy and Objective Moral Constructivism: Rawls Versus Kleingeld & Willaschek.Alyssa R. Bernstein - forthcoming - Philosophia.
    Pauline Kleingeld and Marcus Willaschek, in a co-authored article, declare that their purportedly new interpretation of Immanuel Kant’s writings on autonomy reveals that his moral philosophy is neither realist nor constructivist. However, as I explain here, John Rawls already occupies the area of intellectual territory to which Kleingeld and Willaschek attempt to lay claim: Rawls interprets Kant’s moral philosophy as neither realist, as Kleingeld and Willaschek evidently construe this term, nor constructivist, as they evidently construe this term. Contra Kleingeld and (...)
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  5. Moral Progress, Knowledge and Error: Do People Believe in Moral Objectivity?Thomas Pölzler, Lieuwe Zijlstra & Jacob Dijkstra - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    A prevalent assumption in metaethics is that people believe in moral objectivity. If this assumption were true then people should believe in the possibility of objective moral progress, objective moral knowledge, and objective moral error. We developed surveys to investigate whether these predictions hold. Our results suggest that, neither abstractly nor concretely, people dominantly believe in the possibility of objective moral progress, knowledge and error. They attribute less objectivity to these phenomena than in the case of science and no more, (...)
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  6. Moral Realism without Moral Metaphysics.Andrew Sepielli - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume XI. Oxford University Press.
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  7. Evolutionary debunking of (arguments for) moral realism.Arnon Levy & Itamar Weinshtock Saadon - 2023 - Synthese 201 (5):1-22.
    Moral realism is often taken to have common sense and initial appearances on its side. Indeed, by some lights, common sense and initial appearances underlie all the central positive arguments for moral realism. We offer a kind of debunking argument, taking aim at realism’s common sense standing. Our argument differs from familiar debunking moves both in its empirical assumptions and in how it targets the realist position. We argue that if natural selection explains the objective phenomenology of moral deliberation and (...)
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  8. Expressivism and moral independence.Elliot Salinger - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (1):136-152.
    Metaethical expressivism faces the perennial objection that its commitment to non‐cognitivism about moral judgment renders the view revisionary of our ordinary moral thought. The standard response to this objection is to say that since the expressivist's theoretical commitments about the nature of moral judgment are independent of normative ethics, the view cannot be revisionary of normative ethics. This essay seeks to evaluate the standard response by exploring several senses of independence that expressivism might enjoy from normative ethics. I develop a (...)
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  9. How to Choose Normative Concepts.Ting Cho Lau - 2022 - Analytic Philosophy.
    Matti Eklund (2017) has argued that ardent realists face a serious dilemma. Ardent realists believe that there is a mind-independent fact as to which normative concepts we are to use. Eklund claims that the ardent realist cannot explain why this is so without plumping in favor of their own normative concepts or changing the topic. The paper first advances the discussion by clarifying two ways of understanding the question of which normative concepts to choose: a theoretical question about which concepts (...)
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  10. Should morality be abolished? An empirical challenge to the argument from intolerance.Jennifer Cole Wright & Thomas Pölzler - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):350-385.
    Moral abolitionists claim that morality ought to be abolished. According to one of their most prominent arguments, this is because making moral judgments renders people significantly less tolerant toward anyone who holds divergent views. In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that morality’s tolerance-decreasing effect only occurs if people are realists about moral issues, i.e., they interpret these issues as objectively grounded. We found support for this hypothesis (Studies 1 and 2). Yet, it also turned out that the intolerance associated (...)
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  11. Acquaintance, knowledge, and value.Emad H. Atiq - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14035-14062.
    Taking perceptual experience to consist in a relation of acquaintance with the sensible qualities, I argue that the state of being acquainted with a sensible quality is intrinsically a form of knowledge, and not merely a means to more familiar kinds of knowledge, such as propositional or dispositional knowledge. We should accept the epistemic claim for its explanatory power and theoretical usefulness. That acquaintance is knowledge best explains the intuitive epistemic appeal of ‘Edenic’ counterfactuals involving unmediated perceptual contact with reality (...)
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  12. A Defense of Modest Ideal Observer Theory: The Case of Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator.Nir Ben-Moshe - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):489-510.
    I build on Adam Smith’s account of the impartial spectator in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in order to offer a modest ideal observer theory of moral judgment that is adequate in the following sense: the account specifies the hypothetical conditions that guarantee the authoritativeness of an agent’s (or agents’) responses in constituting the standard in question, and, if an actual agent or an actual community of agents are not under those conditions, their responses are not authoritative in setting this (...)
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  13. Una propuesta de objetivismo ético para contrarrestar la posverdad en la era de la cuarta revolución industrial.Julio C. Silva - 2021 - Futuro Hoy 1 (2):25-27.
    Este ensayo propone un objetivismo ético basado en la naturalización de la ética. Para lograr este objetivo, primero presentaremos la argumentación general del relativismo moral y mostraremos que esta es inválida. A continuación, veremos la razón por la que el relativismo moral es insostenible: hay valores morales que necesariamente deben ser universales. Luego, defenderemos la idea de que los conflictos morales surgen por discrepancias entre creencias fácticas, y una manera de contrarrestar este hecho es mediante el desarrollo del pensamiento crítico. (...)
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  14. Misunderstanding Metaethics: Difficulties Measuring Folk Objectivism and Relativism.Lance S. Bush & David Moss - 2020 - Diametros 17 (64):6-21.
    Recent research on the metaethical beliefs of ordinary people appears to show that they are metaethical pluralists that adopt different metaethical standards for different moral judgments. Yet the methods used to evaluate folk metaethical belief rely on the assumption that participants interpret what they are asked in metaethical terms. We argue that most participants do not interpret questions designed to elicit metaethical beliefs in metaethical terms, or at least not in the way researchers intend. As a result, existing methods are (...)
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  15. Objetividade Ética e a Morte da Ontologia em Putnam.Luca Nogueira Igansi - 2020 - Cognitio 21 (2):246-259.
    Rastrearemos a refutação da necessidade de fundamentos ontológicos para teorias éticas de Putnam analisando sua trajetória por autores como Quine, Moore e Wittgenstein. Partiremos do naturalismo epistemológico de Quine para estabelecer sua base coerentista pragmática. Então, investigaremos seu distanciamento da ontologia conforme sua perspectiva wittgensteiniana do conceitualismo mooreano e platônico. Caracterizando Heidegger como alvo primário de sua crítica a uma necessidade de ontologia, afasta-se mesmo de Quine ao abraçar uma relatividade conceitual inspirada na mereologia e em jogos de linguagem para (...)
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  16. The Experience of "I ought to do x": As the Ground for Moral Objectivity in Karol Wojtyła's Meta-Ethics.Justin Nnaemeka Onyeukaziri & Onyeukaziri Justin Nnaemeka - 2020 - Philosophia: International Journal of Philosophy (Philippine e-journal) 21 (Special Issue):471-481.
    The objective of this work is to investigate Karol Wojtyła’s meta-ethics. Following the Aristotelian and Thomistic tradition, he maintains that ethics is a science. Contrary to the Aristotelian tradition, which conceives ethics as a practical science, Wojtyła sustains that ethics is also a science with theoretical objectivity. He posits the human “experience of morality,” in a specific sense, the moral experience of “I ought to do x”, as the ground for the objectivity of ethics as science. He also critiques the (...)
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  17. Against overgeneralisation objections to the argument from moral disagreement.Thomas Pölzler - 2020 - South African Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):261-273.
    According to the argument from moral disagreement, the existence of widespread or persistent moral disagreement is best explained by, and thus supports, the view that there are no objective moral truths. One of the most common charges against this argument is that it “overgeneralises”: it implausibly forces its proponents to also deny the existence of objective truths about certain matters of physics, history, philosophy, etc. (“companions in guilt” objections) or even about the argument’s own conclusion or its own soundness (“self-defeat” (...)
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  18. Moral Realism and Expert Disagreement.Prabhpal Singh - 2020 - Trames: A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences 24 (3):441-457.
    SPECIAL ISSUE ON DISAGREEMENTS: The fact of moral disagreement is often raised as a problem for moral realism. The idea is that disagreement amongst people or communities on moral issues is to be taken as evidence that there are no objective moral facts. While the fact of ‘folk’ moral disagreement has been of interest, the fact of expert moral disagreement, that is, widespread and longstanding disagreement amongst expert moral philosophers, is even more compelling. In this paper, I present three arguments (...)
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  19. Matilal's Metaethics.Nicolas Bommarito & Alex King - 2019 - In Colin Marshall (ed.), Comparative Metaethics: Neglected Perspectives on the Foundations of Morality. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 139-156.
    Bimal Krishna Matilal (1935-1991) was a Harvard-educated Indian philosopher best known for his contributions to logic, but who also wrote on wide variety of topics, including metaethics. Unfortunately, the latter contributions have been overlooked. Engaging with Anglo-American figures such as Gilbert Harman and Bernard Williams, Matilal defends a view he dubs ‘pluralism.’ In defending this view he draws on a wide range of classical Indian sources: the Bhagavad-Gītā, Buddhist thinkers like Nāgārjuna, and classical Jaina concepts. This pluralist position is somewhere (...)
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  20. The meta-ethical significance of experiments about folk moral objectivism.Jeroen Hopster - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (6):831-852.
    The meta-ethical commitments of folk respondents – specifically their commitment to the objectivity of moral claims – have recently become subject to empirical scrutiny. Experimental findings suggest that people are meta-ethical pluralists: There is both inter- and intrapersonal variation with regard to people’s objectivist commitments. What meta-ethical implications, if any, do these findings have? I point out that current research does not directly address traditional meta-ethical questions: The methods used and distinctions drawn by experimenters do not perfectly match those of (...)
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  21. Empirical research on folk moral objectivism.Thomas Pölzler & Jennifer Cole Wright - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (5).
    Lay persons may have intuitions about morality's objectivity. What do these intuitions look like? And what are their causes and consequences? In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have begun to investigate these questions empirically. This article presents and assesses the resulting area of research as well as its potential philosophical implications. First, we introduce the methods of empirical research on folk moral objectivism. Second, we provide an overview of the findings that have so far been made. Third, we (...)
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  22. Whose Metaethical Minimalism?Noell Birondo - 2018 - Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (2):37-43.
    T. M. Scanlon’s ‘Reasons Fundamentalism’ rejects any naturalistic reduction of normative truths and it also rejects the type of non-naturalism that invokes a ‘special metaphysical reality.’ Here I argue that this still does not commit Scanlon—as some have thought—to an extreme ‘metaethical minimalism’ according to which there are no ‘truth makers’ at all for normative truths. I emphasize that the issue here is not just about understanding Scanlon, since the actual position defended by Scanlon might, more significantly, point the way (...)
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  23. Constitutivism about Reasons: Autonomy and Understanding.Karl Schafer - 2018 - In Francois Schroeter & Karen Jones (eds.), The Many Moral Rationalisms. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Contemporary forms of Kantian constitutivism generally begin with a conception of agency on which the constitutive aim of agency is some form of autonomy or self-unification. This chapter argues for a re-orientation of the Kantian constitutivist project towards views that begin with a conception of rationality on which both theoretical and practical rationality aim at forms of understanding. In a slogan, then, understanding-first as opposed to autonomy-first constitutivism. Such a view gives the constitutivist new resources for explaining many classes of (...)
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  24. Two Accounts of Moral Objectivity: from Attitude-Independence to Standpoint-Invariance.Jeroen Hopster - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):763-780.
    How should we understand the notion of moral objectivity? Metaethical positions that vindicate morality’s objective appearance are often associated with moral realism. On a realist construal, moral objectivity is understood in terms of mind-, stance-, or attitude-independence. But realism is not the only game in town for moral objectivists. On an antirealist construal, morality’s objective features are understood in virtue of our attitudes. In this paper I aim to develop this antirealist construal of moral objectivity in further detail, and to (...)
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  25. I Can't Relax! You're Driving me Quasi!Stephen Ingram - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3).
    Robust Realists think that there are irreducible, non-natural, and mind-independent moral properties. Quasi-Realists and Relaxed Realists think the same, but interpret these commitments differently. Robust Realists interpret them as metaphysical commitments, to be defended by metaphysical argument. Quasi-Realists and Relaxed Realists say that they can only be interpreted as moral commitments. These theories thus pose a serious threat to Robust Realism, for they apparently undermine the very possibility of articulating the robust metaphysical commitments of this theory. I clarify and respond (...)
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  26. Ethics and Objectivity [Chapter 6 of Objectivity].Guy Axtell - 2016 - In Objectivity. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press; Wiley open ebooks. pp. 172-206.
    In earlier chapters, we described debates between objectivists and relativists over methodology in the sciences, and over science and values. We have been led to talk about the role of value judgments in various areas of thought, but in this final chapter we turn more directly to the age – old question of the objectivity of values. Objectivists and relativists populate debate over this question just as we found them populating other questions we have addressed. There is a general, deep (...)
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  27. Wittgenstein and Objectivity in Ethics: A Reply to Brandhorst.Benjamin De Mesel - 2016 - Philosophical Investigations 40 (1):40-63.
    In “Correspondence to Reality in Ethics”, Mario Brandhorst examines the view of ethics that Wittgenstein took in his later years. According to Brandhorst, Wittgenstein leaves room for truth and falsity, facts, correspondence and reality in ethics. Wittgenstein's target, argues Brandhorst, is objectivity. I argue that Brandhorst's arguments in favour of truth, facts, reality and correspondence in ethics invite similar arguments in favour of objectivity, that Brandhorst does not recognise this because his conception of objectivity is distorted by a Platonist picture (...)
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  28. Further problems with projectivism.Thomas Pölzler - 2016 - South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):92-102.
    From David Hume onwards, many philosophers have argued that moral thinking is characterized by a tendency to “project” our own mental states onto the world. This metaphor of projection may be understood as involving two empirical claims: the claim that humans experience morality as a realm of objective facts (the experiential hypothesis), and the claim that this moral experience is immediately caused by affective attitudes (the causal hypothesis). Elsewhere I argued in detail against one form of the experiential hypothesis. My (...)
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  29. The Objectivity of Nihilism.Gregor Schiemann - 2016 - Divinatio. Studia Culturologica 41 (Autumn-winter 2015):7-29.
    The discourse on nihilism in the German-speaking world continues to take its orientation primarily from Friedrich Nietzsche’s understanding of nihilism as a historical movement of the decline of values. This means that the aspects of nihilism that are not tied to specific epochs and cultures are not accorded due importance (I). In order to make a reappraisal of nihilism that does justice to these objective contents, I will present a classification of types of nihilism and of arguments that support it. (...)
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  30. Objectivity. Polity Press, 2015. Introduction and T. of Contents.Guy Axtell - 2015 - Polity; Wiley.
    “Objectivity” is an important theoretical concept with diverse applications in our collective practices of inquiry. It is also a concept attended in recent decades by vigorous debate, debate that includes but is not restricted to scientists and philosophers. The special authority of science as a source of knowledge of the natural and social world has been a matter of much controversy. In part because the authority of science is supposed to result from the objectivity of its methods and results, objectivity (...)
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  31. Review of Terence Cuneo's Speech and morality: On the Metaethical Implications of Speaking. [REVIEW]Spencer Jay Case - 2015 - Tradition and Discovery 42 (1):59-62.
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  32. Defending Moral Mind-Independence: The Expressivist’s Precarious Turn.Lisa Warenski - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (3):861-69.
    A central feature of ordinary moral thought is that moral judgment is mind-independent in the following sense: judging something to be morally wrong does not thereby make it morally wrong. To deny this would be to accept a form of subjectivism. Neil Sinclair (2008) makes a novel attempt to show how expressivism is simultaneously committed to (1) an understanding of moral judgments as expressions of attitudes and (2) the rejection of subjectivism. In this paper, I discuss Sinclair’s defense of anti-subjectivist (...)
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  33. Review of Derek Parfit, On What Matters. [REVIEW]Jonathan Anomaly - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (3):358-360.
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  34. How Does Moral Nihilism Affect our Taking Action against Climate Change?Thomas Pölzler - 2013 - Proceedings of the 13. International Conference of ISSEI.
    The effects of anthropogenic climate change will be devastating. Nevertheless, most people do not seem to be seriously concerned. We consume as much as we always did, drive as much as we always did, eat as much meat as we always did. What can we do to overcome this collective apathy? In order to be able to develop effective measures, we must first get clear about the causes of climate change inaction. In this paper I ask whether moral nihilism (the (...)
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  35. Do ‘Objectivist’ Features of Moral Discourse and Thinking Support Moral Objectivism?Gunnar Björnsson - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (4):367-393.
    Many philosophers think that moral objectivism is supported by stable features of moral discourse and thinking. When engaged in moral reasoning and discourse, people behave ‘as if’ objectivism were correct, and the seemingly most straightforward way of making sense of this is to assume that objectivism is correct; this is how we think that such behavior is explained in paradigmatically objectivist domains. By comparison, relativist, error-theoretic or non-cognitivist accounts of this behavior seem contrived and ad hoc. After explaining why this (...)
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  36. Constructivism and the Error Theory.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2011 - In Christian Miller (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum.
    This paper presents a comparative evaluation of constructivist and error theoretic accounts of moral claims. It is argued that constructivism has distinct advantages over error theory.
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  37. Science and Ethics: Tracing parallels and contrasts between Science, Relativism and Utilitarianism.Louis Caruana - 2006 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 62 (1):119-136.
    In its first section, dedicated to the topic science and relativism, the article argues against those who hold that science is absolutist while ethics is relativist. The point made is that the two disciplines are not all that different. There is an element of objectivity and an element of relativity in both. The article insists that there are two plausible ways in which these elements may be appreciated in both disciplines. The first way involves an analysis of precedents; the second (...)
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  38. A Universal Morality: An account of Moral Objectivity against Moral Error Theory.Utkarsh Rana - manuscript
    Moral error theory is a meta-ethical view that discusses how one makes an error when making a moral judgment or claim. The error resides in the fact that the moral values about which the judgments are made, do not exist in the natural fabric of the world. In the first section of this article, I shall discuss about the moral error theory itself and the claims that it makes. Since the moral error theory in a structured form first came from (...)
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