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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Folk Platitudes as the Explananda of Philosophical Metaethics: Are They Accurate? And Do They Help or Hinder Inquiry?Hagop Sarkissian - 2017 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3):565-575.
    The field of metaethics, the branch of moral philosophy that examines the nature and status of morality, is rich in theoretical diversity. Nonetheless, a majority of professional philosophers embrace a subset of theories that affirm the existence of objective moral facts. I suggest that this may be related to the very method that philosophers use to construct metaethical theories. This method involves analyzing how ordinary people think and argue about morality. Analysis of ordinary moral discourse is meant to reveal common (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Moral Discourse: Categorical or Institutional?Calvin H. Warner - unknown
    Error theory turns on a particular presupposition about the conceptual commitments of moral realism, namely that the moral facts posited by realists need to be categorical. True moral propositions are said to have an absolute authority in their prescriptions in the sense that an agent, regardless of her own ends, needs or desires, is categorically obligated and has reason to act in accordance with their prescriptions. But, nothing in the world has such a queer property as categoricity, and therefore we (...)
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  • What’s Left for the Companions in Guilt Argument?Patrick Clipsham - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):137-151.
    Companions in guilt arguments respond to moral error theory by pointing out that its philosophical rationale mandates the rejection of all categorical normative reasons, including epistemic reasons. A number of philosophers have recently been engaging in a dialogue about the strength of this argumentative strategy and the significance of the criticisms that has been raised against it. In this paper, I identify a specific argument, which I dub the ‘bullet-biting response’ as a crucial element in some recent attacks on the (...)
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  • The 'Now What' Problem for Error Theory.Matt Lutz - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):351-371.
    Error theorists hold that, although our first-order moral thought and discourse commits us to the existence of moral truths, there are no such truths. Holding this position in metaethics puts the error theorist in an uncomfortable position regarding first-order morality. When it comes to our pre-theoretic moral commitments, what should the error theorist think? What should she say? What should she do? I call this the ‘Now What’ Problem for error theory. This paper suggests a framework for evaluating different approaches (...)
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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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  • 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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  • The Revisionist’s Rubric: Conceptual Engineering and the Discontinuity Objection.Michael Prinzing - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):854-880.
    ABSTRACTThis paper is about conceptual engineering. Specifically, it discusses a common objection to CE, which I call the Discontinuity Objection. According to the Discontinuity Objection, CE leads to problematic discontinuities in subject and/or inquiry – making it philosophically uninteresting or irrelevant. I argue that a conceptual engineer can dismiss the Discontinuity Objection by showing that the pre-engineering concept persists through the proposed changes. In other words, the Discontinuity Objection does not apply if the proposal involves identity-preserving changes. Two existing views (...)
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  • Companions in Guilt Arguments.Christopher Cowie - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12528.
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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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