Against quietist normative realism

Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240 (2011)
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Abstract
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 normative reasons, his defense at best succeeds only in shifting the focus of metaphysical enquiry. I then set aside the details of Scanlon’s view, and argue on general grounds that that the quietist realist cannot finesse a crucial metanormative task: to explain the contrast between the correct normative system and alternative putatively normative standards.
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Archival date: 2013-08-31
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2010-03-13

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