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  1. Against Quietist Normative Realism.Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
    Recently, some philosophers have suggested that a form of robust realism about ethics, or normativity more generally, does not face a significant explanatory burden in metaphysics. I call this view metaphysically quietist normative realism . This paper argues that while this view can appear to constitute an attractive alternative to more traditional forms of normative realism, it cannot deliver on this promise. I examine Scanlon’s attempt to defend such a quietist realism, and argue that rather than silencing metaphysical questions about (...)
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  • The Nature and Explanatory Ambitions of Metaethics.Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 1-28.
    This volume introduces a wide range of important views, questions, and controversies in and about contemporary metaethics. It is natural to ask: What, if anything, connects this extraordinary range of discussions? This introductory chapter aims to answer this question by giving an account of metaethics that shows it to be a unified theoretical activ- ity. According to this account, metaethics is a theoretical activity characterized by an explanatory goal. This goal is to explain how actual ethical thought and talk—and what (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Evolutionary Debunking.Justis Koon - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Fifteen years ago, Sharon Street and Richard Joyce advanced evolutionary debunking arguments against moral realism, which purported to show that the evolutionary history of our moral beliefs makes moral realism untenable. These arguments have since given rise to a flurry of objections; the epistemic principles Street and Joyce relied upon, in particular, have come in for a number of serious challenges. My goal in this paper is to develop a new account of evolutionary debunking which avoids the pitfalls Street and (...)
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  • In Defense of Anti‐Archimedean Moral Realism: A Response to Recent Critics.Patrick Clipsham - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (4):470-484.
    Ronald Dworkin famously argued that many putatively nonmoral metaethical theories can only be understood as being internal to the moral domain. If correct, this position, referred to as anti-archimedeanism, has profound implications for the methodology of metaethics. This is particularly true for skeptical metaethical theories. This article defends a version of anti-archimedeanism that is true to the spirit rather than the letter of Dworkin's original thesis from several recent objections. First, it addresses Kenneth Ehrenberg's recent attempt to demonstrate how certain (...)
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  • Epistemic Modesty in Ethics.Nicholas Laskowski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1577-1596.
    Many prominent ethicists, including Shelly Kagan, John Rawls, and Thomas Scanlon, accept a kind of epistemic modesty thesis concerning our capacity to carry out the project of ethical theorizing. But it is a thesis that has received surprisingly little explicit and focused attention, despite its widespread acceptance. After explaining why the thesis is true, I argue that it has several implications in metaethics, including, especially, implications that should lead us to rethink our understanding of Reductive Realism. In particular, the thesis (...)
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  • Model Theory, Hume's Dictum, and the Priority of Ethical Theory.Jack Woods & Barry Maguire - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:419-440.
    It is regrettably common for theorists to attempt to characterize the Humean dictum that one can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ just in broadly logical terms. We here address an important new class of such approaches which appeal to model-theoretic machinery. Our complaint about these recent attempts is that they interfere with substantive debates about the nature of the ethical. This problem, developed in detail for Daniel Singer’s and Gillian Russell and Greg Restall’s accounts of Hume’s dictum, is of (...)
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  • Unifying Moral Methodology.Tristram McPherson - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4):523-549.
    This article argues that the best way to pursue systematic normative ethical theorizing involves metaethical enquiry. My argument builds upon two central claims. First, I argue that plausible metaethical accounts can have implications that can help to resolve the methodological controversies facing normative ethics. Second, I argue that metaethical research is at least roughly as well supported as normative ethical research. I conclude by examining the implications of my thesis. Inter alia, it shows that the common practice of engaging in (...)
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  • Moral Language in Child Protection Research.Tytti Poikolainen - unknown
    This article is based on a philosophical analysis of moral language in academic journal articles that concern child death cases. The analysis shows that research of child protection is a value-committed practice, and the language use reflects this in various ways. Direct moral language is relatively rare, and moral values are often implicitly referred to. Values in social work research bear resemblance to moral philosophical stances.
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  • Jurisprudential Theories and First‐Order Legal Judgments.Kevin Toh - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):457-471.
    The nature of the relation between jurisprudential theories and first-order legal judgments is a strangely uncontroversial matter in contemporary legal philosophy. There is one dominant conception of the relation according to which jurisprudential theories are second-order or meta-legal theories that specify the ultimate grounds of first-order legal judgments. According to this conception, difficult first-order legal disputes are to be resolved by jurisprudential theorizing. According to an alternative conception that Ronald Dworkin has influentially advocated, jurisprudential theories are not second-order theories about (...)
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  • Developing a Post-Prior Taxonomy of Ethical Sentences.Patrick Clipsham - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):801-820.
    The main guiding assumption of this paper is that there is need for a taxonomy of ethical sentences that does not overgenerate, yet can make useful contributions to debates about certain controversial sentences . After surveying the recent literature and concluding that no extant taxonomy that satisfies both of these conditions is available to us, I propose and explain a novel taxonomy which does satisfy them. I then defend my proposal from five potential objections.
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