Moral realism in Spinoza's Ethics

In Yitzhak Melamed (ed.), The Cambridge Critical Guide to Spinoza's Ethics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 248-65 (2017)
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Abstract

I argue that Spinoza is more of a moral realist than an anti-realist. More specifically, I argue that Spinoza is more of a realist than Kant, and that his view has deep similarities with Plato's metaethics. Along the way, I identify three approaches to the moral realism/anti-realism distinction. Classifying Spinoza as a moral realist brings out a number of important complexities that have been overlooked by many of Spinoza's readers and by many contemporary metaethicists.

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Colin Marshall
University of Washington

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