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  1. Attributing Error Without Taking a Stand.Caleb Perl & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1453-1471.
    Moral error theory is the doctrine that our first-order moral commitments are pervaded by systematic error. It has been objected that this makes the error theory itself a position in first-order moral theory that should be judged by the standards of competing first-order moral theories :87–139, 1996) and Kramer. Kramer: “the objectivity of ethics is itself an ethical matter that rests primarily on ethical considerations. It is not something that can adequately be contested or confirmed through non-ethical reasoning” [2009, 1]). (...)
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  • The Belief Problem for Moral Error Theory.Wouter Floris Kalf - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-22.
    ABSTRACTMoral error theorists think that moral judgments such as ‘stealing is morally wrong’ express truth-apt beliefs that ascribe moral properties to objects and actions. They also think that moral properties are not instantiated. Since moral error theorists think that moral judgments can only be true if they correctly describe moral properties, they think that no moral judgment is true. The belief problem for moral error theory is that this theory is inconsistent with every plausible theory of belief. I argue that (...)
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  • Moral and Metaethical Pluralism: Unity in Variation.Ragnar Francén Olinder - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):583-601.
    The most basic argument for moral relativism is that different people are disposed to apply moral terms, such as ‘morally right’ and ‘morally wrong’, and the corresponding concepts, to different acts. In this paper, I argue that the standard forms of moral relativism fail to account for certain instances of fundamental variation, namely, variation in metaethical intuitions, and I develop a form of relativism—pluralism—that does account for them. I identify two challenges that pluralism faces. To answer the challenges, I first (...)
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  • Moral Error Theories and Folk Metaethics.Benjamin Fraser - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):1-18.
    In this paper, I distinguish between two error theories of morality: one couched in terms of truth ; the other in terms of justification. I then present two arguments: the Poisoned Presupposition Argument for ET1; and the Evolutionary Debunking Argument for ET2. I go on to show how assessing these arguments requires paying attention to empirical moral psychology, in particular, work on folk metaethics. After criticizing extant work, I suggest avenues for future research.
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  • Ficcionalização da moral:um roteiro.Wilson Mendonça & Idia Laura Ferreira - 2010 - Ethic@ - An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 9 (2):175-198.
    O trabalho identifica algumas questões críticas em tentativas recentes de tratar o objeto da moralidade como uma ficção. Sobre o pano de fundo de uma distinção entre cognitivismo e não-cognitivismo moral exclusivamente em termos da natureza do estado mental expresso pelo enunciado moral, independentemente do conteúdo semântico do enunciado , o trabalho mostra um deficit estrutural no argumento da intransigência proposto por Kalderon a favor do ficcionalismo moral hermenêutico . Mediante a reconstrução dos passos que levam do cognitivismo irrealista ao (...)
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  • A New Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism.Justin Morton - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):233-253.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments claim that evolution has influenced our moral faculties in such a way that, if moral realism is true, then we have no positive moral knowledge. I present several popular objections to the standard version of this argument, then give a new EDA that has clear advantages in responding to these objections. Whereas the Standard EDA argues that evolution has selected for many moral beliefs with certain contents, this New EDA claims that evolution has selected for one belief: (...)
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  • Can the Empirical Sciences Contribute to the Moral Realism/Anti-Realism Debate?Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4907-4930.
    An increasing number of moral realists and anti-realists have recently attempted to support their views by appeal to science. Arguments of this kind are typically criticized on the object-level. In addition, however, one occasionally also comes across a more sweeping metatheoretical skepticism. Scientific contributions to the question of the existence of objective moral truths, it is claimed, are impossible in principle; most prominently, because such arguments impermissibly derive normative from descriptive propositions, such arguments beg the question against non-naturalist moral realism, (...)
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  • Quasi-Expressivism About Statements of Law: A Hartian Theory.Stephen Finlay & David Plunkett - forthcoming - In John Gardner, Leslie Green & Brian Leiter (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law, vol. 3. Oxford University Press.
    Speech and thought about what the law is commonly function in practical ways, to guide or assess behavior. These functions have often been seen as problematic for legal positivism in the tradition of H.L.A. Hart. One recent response is to advance an expressivist analysis of legal statements (Toh), which faces its own, familiar problems. This paper advances a rival, positivist-friendly account of legal statements which we call “quasi-expressivist”, explicitly modeled after Finlay’s metaethical theory of moral statements. This consists in a (...)
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  • Authoritatively Normative Concepts.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
    This paper offers an analysis of the authoritatively normative concept PRACTICAL OUGHT that appeals to the constitutive norms for the activity of non-arbitrary selection. I argue that this analysis permits an attractive and substantive explanation of what the distinctive normative authority of this concept amounts to. I contrast my account with more familiar constitutivist theories, and briefly show how it answers ‘schmagency’-style objections to constitutivist explanations of normativity. Finally, I explain how the account offered here can be used to help (...)
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  • Why Queerness is Not Enough.Kretz David - 2014 - Romanian Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (1):32-43.
    Moral error theorists often claim to be strongly anti‑metaphysical in their moral scepticism and atheistic naturalists. This paper argues that pre‑ cisely this becomes a problem for them, when their metaethical and ontologi‑ cal commitments clash. I first outline how the known arguments against error theory face a problematic, yet rarely considered trade‑off : either they are very strong, then they are also very demanding in their assumptions or they are less demanding in their assumptions but rather weak in their (...)
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  • Meaning in Life and the Metaphysics of Value.Daan Evers - 2017 - De Ethica 4 (3):27-44.
    According to subjectivist views about a meaningful life, one's life is meaningful in virtue of desire satisfaction or feelings of fulfilment. Standard counterexamples consist of satisfaction found through trivial or immoral tasks. In response to such examples, many philosophers require that the tasks one is devoted to are objectively valuable, or have objectively valuable consequences. I argue that the counterexamples to subjectivism do not require objective value for meaning in life. I also consider other reasons for thinking that meaning in (...)
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  • Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Are there such things as moral truths? How do we know what we should do? And does it matter? Constructivism states that moral truths are neither invented nor discovered, but rather are constructed by rational agents in order to solve practical problems. While constructivism has become the focus of many philosophical debates in normative ethics, meta-ethics and action theory, its importance is still to be fully appreciated. These new essays written by leading scholars define and assess this new approach in (...)
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  • Why Jonas Olson Cannot Believe the Error Theory Either.Bart Streumer - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (4):419-436.
    Jonas Olson writes that "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson should say that reasons for belief are irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then explain why I think Olson's objections to this argument fail. I end by (...)
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  • Jonas Olson’s Evidence for Moral Error Theory.Daan Evers - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (4):403-418.
    Jonas Olson defends a moral error theory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion).
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  • Dangerous Knowledge? Morality And Moral Progress After Naturalism.Daniel Diederich Farmer - unknown
    From the perspective of at least some of our valuing practices, the advance of the sciences can seem to constitute a threat. The question I take up in this dissertation is whether or not naturalism--understood as the picture of the world and of ourselves bequeathed to us by the sciences--should be understood as a threat to our moral practices, to moral living. On the account I defend, the knowledge we gain from empirical inquiry need not undermine moral living in toto, (...)
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  • The End‐Relational Theory of ‘Ought’ and the Weight of Reasons.Daan Evers - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (3):405-417.
    Stephen Finlay analyses ‘ought’ in terms of probability. According to him, normative ‘ought's are statements about the likelihood that an act will realize some (contextually supplied) end. I raise a problem for this theory. It concerns the relation between ‘ought’ and the balance of reasons. ‘A ought to Φ’ seems to entail that the balance of reasons favours that A Φ-es, and vice versa. Given Finlay's semantics for ‘ought’, it also makes sense to think of reasons and their weight in (...)
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  • Ethics Without Errors.James Lenman - 2013 - Ratio 26 (4):391-409.
    I argue against the claim that we should adopt a moral error theory. The intelligibility of our moral practice need offer no questionable metaphysical hostages to fortune. The two most credible policy recommendations that might follow from moral error theory, abolitionism and prescriptive fictionalism, are not very credible.
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  • Weight for Stephen Finlay.Daan Evers - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):737-749.
    According to Stephen Finlay, ‘A ought to X’ means that X-ing is more conducive to contextually salient ends than relevant alternatives. This in turn is analysed in terms of probability. I show why this theory of ‘ought’ is hard to square with a theory of a reason’s weight which could explain why ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es. I develop two theories of weight to illustrate my point. I first look at (...)
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  • Is Irreducible Normativity Impossibly Queer?Teemu Toppinen - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (4):437-460.
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  • Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory.Victor Moberger - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (3).
    J. L. Mackie famously argued that a commitment to non-existent objective values permeates ordinary moral thought and discourse. According to a standard interpretation, Mackie construed this commitment as a universal and indeed essential feature of moral judgments. In this paper I argue that we should rather ascribe to Mackie a form of semantic pluralism, according to which not all moral judgments involve the commitment to objective values. This interpretation not only makes better sense of what Mackie actually says, but also (...)
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  • Errors Upon Errors: A Reply to Joyce.Stephen Finlay - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):535 - 547.
    In his response to my paper ?The Error in the Error Theory? criticizing his and J. L. Mackie's moral error theory, Richard Joyce finds my treatment of his position inaccurate and my interpretation of morality implausible. In this reply I clarify my objection, showing that it retains its force against their error theory, and I clarify my interpretation of morality, showing that Joyce's objections miss their mark.
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  • Aspects of Folk Morality: Objectivism and Relativism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2016 - In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. London, UK: pp. 212-224.
    Most moral philosophers work under the assumption that ordinary folk morality is committed to objectivism—that ordinary folk view morality in absolute terms. This datum serves to constrain and shape philosophical metaethics, since those working in this field feel compelled to make sense of it. In this chapter, I discuss why philosophers take on this commitment. I also outline the relevant experimental research exploring whether, and to what extent, ordinary folk think of morality in absolute terms. Finally, I turn toward a (...)
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  • Debunking Debunking: A Regress Challenge for Psychological Threats to Moral Judgment.Regina A. Rini - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):675-697.
    This paper presents a regress challenge to the selective psychological debunking of moral judgments. A selective psychological debunking argument conjoins an empirical claim about the psychological origins of certain moral judgments to a theoretical claim that these psychological origins cannot track moral truth, leading to the conclusion that the moral judgments are unreliable. I argue that psychological debunking arguments are vulnerable to a regress challenge, because the theoretical claim that ‘such-and-such psychological process is not moral-truth-tracking’ relies upon moral judgments. We (...)
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  • Pain for the Moral Error Theory? A New Companions-in-Guilt Argument.Guy Fletcher - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):474-482.
    The moral error theorist claims that moral discourse is irredeemably in error because it is committed to the existence of properties that do not exist. A common response has been to postulate ‘companions in guilt’—forms of discourse that seem safe from error despite sharing the putatively problematic features of moral discourse. The most developed instance of this pairs moral discourse with epistemic discourse. In this paper, I present a new, prudential, companions-in-guilt argument and argue for its superiority over the epistemic (...)
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  • Bad News for Moral Error Theorists: There Is No Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies.Ramon Das - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):58-69.
    A ‘companions in guilt’ strategy against moral error theory aims to show that the latter proves too much: if sound, it supports an implausible error-theoretic conclusion in other areas such as epistemic or practical reasoning. Christopher Cowie [2016 Cowie, C. 2016. Good News for Moral Error Theorists: A Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94/1: 115–30.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®] [Google Scholar]] has recently produced what he claims is a ‘master argument’ against (...)
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  • Good News for Moral Error Theorists: A Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies.Christopher Cowie - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):115-130.
    Moral error theories are often rejected by appeal to ‘companions in guilt’ arguments. The most popular form of companions in guilt argument takes epistemic reasons for belief as a ‘companion’ and proceeds by analogy. I show that this strategy fails. I claim that the companions in guilt theorist must understand epistemic reasons as evidential support relations if her argument is to be dialectically effective. I then present a dilemma. Either epistemic reasons are evidential support relations or they are not. If (...)
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  • In Defence of Morality: A Response to a Moral Error Theory.Paul Barry - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (1):63-85.
    This paper responds to Richard Joyce’s argument for a moral error theory. Joyce claims that our moral discourse purports to speak of something objective in that it presupposes the existence of non-institutional, categorical reasons for action. Given this, he argues that a proper vindication of our moral discourse would be one carried out from a point of view that is objective inasmuch as it is external to the ‘institution of morality’. And since our moral discourse cannot be vindi- cated from (...)
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  • Do ‘Objectivist’ Features of Moral Discourse and Thinking Support Moral Objectivism?Gunnar Björnsson - 2012 - 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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  • The Error In 'The Error In The Error Theory'.Richard Joyce - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):519-534.
    In his paper ?The Error in the Error Theory?[this journal, 2008], Stephen Finlay attempts to show that the moral error theorist has not only failed to prove his case, but that the error theory is in fact false. This paper rebuts Finlay's arguments, criticizes his positive theory, and clarifies the error-theoretic position.
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  • The Standard-Relational Theory of 'Ought' and the Oughtistic Theory of Reasons.Daan Evers - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):131-147.
    The idea that normative statements implicitly refer to standards has been around for quite some time. It is usually defended by normative antirealists, who tend to be attracted to Humean theories of reasons. But this is an awkward combination: 'A ought to X' entails that there are reasons for A to X, and 'A ought to X all things considered' entails that the balance of reasons favours X-ing. If the standards implicitly referred to are not those of the agent, then (...)
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  • Humean Agent-Neutral Reasons?Daan Evers - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (1):55 – 67.
    In his recent book Slaves of the Passions , Mark Schroeder defends a Humean account of practical reasons ( hypotheticalism ). He argues that it is compatible with 'genuinely agent-neutral reasons'. These are reasons that any agent whatsoever has. According to Schroeder, they may well include moral reasons. Furthermore, he proposes a novel account of a reason's weight, which is supposed to vindicate the claim that agent-neutral reasons ( if they exist), would be weighty irrespective of anyone's desires. If the (...)
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  • Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence.Jonas Olson - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
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  • Error Theory in Metaethics.Jonas Olson - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 58-71.
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  • Willing Belief.Mark Schroeder - forthcoming - Brill.
    _ Source: _Page Count 22 In _Unbelievable Errors_, Bart Streumer offers resourceful arguments against each of non-reductive realism, reductive realism, and non-cognitivism, in order to motivate his version of the normative error theory, according to which normative predicates ascribe properties that do not exist. In this contribution, I argue that none of the steps of this master argument succeed, and that Streumer’s arguments leave puzzles about what it means to ascribe a property at all.
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  • Willing Belief.Mark Schroeder - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (4):300-321.
    _ Source: _Page Count 22 In _Unbelievable Errors_, Bart Streumer offers resourceful arguments against each of non-reductive realism, reductive realism, and non-cognitivism, in order to motivate his version of the normative error theory, according to which normative predicates ascribe properties that do not exist. In this contribution, I argue that none of the steps of this master argument succeed, and that Streumer’s arguments leave puzzles about what it means to ascribe a property at all.
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  • Some Varieties of Metaethical Relativism.Ragnar Francén Olinder - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (10):529-540.
    This opinionated survey article discusses a relativist view in metaethics that we can call Appraiser-standard Relativism. According to this view, the truth value of moral judgments varies depending on the moral standard of the appraiser – that is, someone who makes or assesses the judgments. On this view, when two persons judge that, say, lying is always morally wrong; one of the judgments might be true and the other false. The paper presents various forms of this view, contrasts it against (...)
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  • Fictionalism in Metaphysics.Frederick Kroon - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):786-803.
    This is a survey of contemporary work on ‘fictionalism in metaphysics’, a term that is taken to signify both the place of fictionalism as a distinctive anti‐realist metaphysics in which usefulness rather than truth is the norm of acceptance, and the fact that philosophers have given fictionalist treatments of a range of specifically metaphysical notions.
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  • Are Moral Properties Impossible?Wouter F. Kalf - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1869-1887.
    Perhaps the actual world does not contain moral properties. But might moral properties be impossible because no world, possible or actual, contains them? Two metaethical theories can be argued to entail just that conclusion; viz., emotivism and error theory. This paper works towards the strongest formulation of the emotivist argument for the impossibility of moral properties, but ultimately rejects it. It then uses the reason why the emotivist argument fails to argue that error-theoretic arguments for the impossibility of moral properties (...)
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  • Towards an Ecumenical Theory of Normative Reasons.Caj Sixten Strandberg - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):69-100.
    A theory of normative reasons for action faces the fundamental challenge of accounting for the dual nature of reasons. On the one hand, some reasons appear to depend on, and vary with, desires. On the other hand, some reasons appear categorical in the sense of being desire‐independent. However, it has turned out to be difficult to provide a theory that accommodates both these aspects. Internalism is able to account for the former aspect, but has difficulties to account for the latter, (...)
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  • The Tale of a Moderate Normative Skeptic.Brendan Cline - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):141-161.
    While Richard Joyce’s moral skepticism might seem to be an extreme metaethical view, it is actually far more moderate than it might first appear. By articulating four challenges facing his approach to moral skepticism, I argue that Joyce’s moderation is, in fact, a theoretical liability. First, the fact that Joyce is not skeptical about normativity in general makes it possible to develop close approximations to morality, lending support to moderate moral revisionism over moral error theory. Second, Joyce relies on strong, (...)
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  • Why Companions in Guilt Arguments Won't Work.C. Cowie - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):407-422.
    One recently popular strategy for avoiding the moral error theory is via a ‘companions in guilt’ argument. I focus on those recently popular arguments that take epistemic facts as a companion in guilt for moral facts. I claim that there is an internal tension between the two main premises of these arguments. It is a consequence of this that either the soundness or the dialectical force of the companions in guilt argument is undermined. I defend this claim via (i) analogy (...)
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  • Revisionist Responses to the Amoralism Objection: A Reply to Julia Markovits.Christopher Cowie - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):711-723.
    Some subjectivist views of practical reasons entail that some people, in some cases, lack sufficient reasons to act as morality requires of them. This is often thought to form the basis of an objection to these subjectivist views: ‘the amoralism objection’. This objection has been developed at length by Julia Markovits in her recent book Moral Reason. But Markovits—alongside many other proponents of this objection—does not explicitly consider that her objection is premised on a claim that her opponents deny on (...)
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  • Gibbardian Humility: Moral Fallibility and Moral Smugness.James Lenman - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (2):235-245.
    Those whose Way is not the same cannot take counsel together.Confucius, Analects XV, 40Quasi-Realism and Fundamental Disagreement: Egan’s ProblemI believe that it is wrong to open your boiled egg at the big end. You believe that it is not wrong to open your egg at the big end. We are at an impasse. The impasse might not be deep. One of us might just be wrong on some matter of prosaic nonnormative fact. But perhaps that is not the case. Even (...)
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  • Conservatism in Metaethics: A Case Study.Christopher Cowie - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (4-5):605-619.
    Metaethicists typically develop and assess their theories—in part—on the basis of the consistency of those theories with “ordinary” first-order normative judgment. They are, in this sense, “methodologically conservative.” This article shows that this methodologically conservative approach obstructs a proper assessment of the debate between internalists and externalists. Specifically, it obstructs one of the most promising readings of internalism. This is a reading—owed to Bernard Williams—in which internalism is part of a practically and politically motivated revision of the assessment of action. (...)
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  • Moral Error Theory, Entailment and Presupposition.Wouter Floris Kalf - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):923-937.
    According to moral error theory, moral discourse is error-ridden. Establishing error theory requires establishing two claims. These are that moral discourse carries a non-negotiable commitment to there being a moral reality and that there is no such reality. This paper concerns the first and so-called non-negotiable commitment claim. It starts by identifying the two existing argumentative strategies for settling that claim. The standard strategy is to argue for a relation of conceptual entailment between the moral statements that comprise moral discourse (...)
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  • Moral Relativism in Context.James Beebe - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):691-724.
    Consider the following facts about the average, philosophically untrained moral relativist: (1.1) The average moral relativist denies the existence of “absolute moral truths.” (1.2) The average moral relativist often expresses her commitment to moral relativism with slogans like ‘What’s true (or right) for you may not be what’s true (or right) for me’ or ‘What’s true (or right) for your culture may not be what’s true (or right) for my culture.’ (1.3) The average moral relativist endorses relativistic views of morality (...)
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