There’s Nothing Quasi About Quasi-Realism: Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine

The Journal of Ethics 21 (2):185-212 (2017)
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This paper seeks to clarify and defend the proposition that moral realism is best elaborated as a moral doctrine. I begin by upholding Ronald Dworkin’s anti-Archimedean critique of the error theory against some strictures by Michael Smith, and I then briefly suggest how a proponent of moral realism as a moral doctrine would respond to Smith’s defense of the Archimedeanism of expressivism. Thereafter, this paper moves to its chief endeavor. By differentiating clearly between expressivism and quasi-realism, the paper highlights both their distinctness and their compatibility. In so doing, it underscores the affinities between Blackburnian quasi-realism and moral realism as a moral doctrine. Finally, this paper contends—in line with my earlier work on these matters—that moral realism as a moral doctrine points to the need for some reorienting of meta-ethical enquiries rather than for the abandoning of them.
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First archival date: 2017-04-16
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