Metamorality without Moral Truth

Neuroethics 12 (2):119-131 (2018)
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Abstract

Recently, Joshua Greene has argued that we need a metamorality to solve moral problems for which evolution has not prepared us. The metamorality that he proposes is a utilitarian account that he calls deep pragmatism. Deep pragmatism is supposed to arbitrate when the values espoused by different groups clash. To date, no systematic appraisal of this argument for a metamorality exists. We reconstruct Greene’s case for deep pragmatism as a metamorality and consider three lines of objection to it. We argue that, in the end, only one of these objections seriously threatens Greene’s position. Greene has to commit to the nonexistence of moral truth in order for his argument for the need of a metamorality to get off the ground. This, however, leads to a tension in his overall argument for deep pragmatism: ultimately, it casts his rejection of antiutilitarian moral intuitions into doubt.

Author Profiles

Steven R. Kraaijeveld
Wageningen University and Research
Hanno Sauer
Utrecht University

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