A Universal Morality: An account of Moral Objectivity against Moral Error Theory


Moral error theory is a meta-ethical view that discusses how one makes an error when making a moral judgment or claim. The error resides in the fact that the moral values about which the judgments are made, do not exist in the natural fabric of the world. In the first section of this article, I shall discuss about the moral error theory itself and the claims that it makes. Since the moral error theory in a structured form first came from the philosopher J.L. Mackie, I shall discuss his standard account in the second section and show how this standard account has been misconceived over the time. The third section sets up a base of the view that I seek to endorse in this article, showing what is actually meant by an action being „objectively good or bad‟. The fourth section seeks a critical examination of the contemporary moral error theories and discusses the issues that arise while these theories answer the „now what‟ question. Section five enlists various contemporary objections to the moral error theory which ultimately undermine the arguments made by error theorists. Since the error theory only considers true what is out there in the world, it poses a „correspondence threat‟ to the error theory which is discussed in the sixth section. The seventh section comprises a defense of the formal objections made against the error theory and shows how the formal objection stands by undermining the error theorists‟ view. The main aim of this article is to provide a critical examination of the moral error theory and show how it provides an implausible account of how morality is to be viewed.

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Utkarsh Rana
University of Delhi


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