Moral Realism and Arbitrariness

Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):109-129 (2005)
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In this paper I argue (i) that choosing to abide by realist moral norms would be as arbitrary as choosing to abide by the mere preferences of a God (a difficulty akin to the Euthyphro dilemma raised for divine command theorists); in both cases we would lack reason to prefer these standards to alternative codes of conduct. I further develop this general line of thought by arguing in particular (ii) that we would lack any noncircular justification to concern ourselves with any such realist normative standards.

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Jason Kawall
Colgate University


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