5 Challenges to Naturalistic, Secular Moral Realism


In this paper I discuss five meta-ethical challenges to Naturalistic Moral Realism, which includes secular moral codes such as Secular Humanism that, in my view, naturalists need to address to keep their commitment to moral realism from looking like special pleading. The five challenges are as follows: 1. The Ontological Problem (OP): How do such moral principles exist? 2. The Epistemic Problem (EP): How does our moral sense/intuition track such principles? 3. The Influence Problem (IP): What authority does the existence of such principles have to supervene on our behavior? 4. The Axiological Problem (AP): What entities have moral value and deserve moral consideration? 5. Methodological Problem (MP): How do we go about arbitrating between moral claims when they conflict?

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Paul Mayer
Rice University


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