Pragmatist Quietism: A Metaethical System

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2022)
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The claim that there are objective ethical truths has attracted its share of doubters. Many have thought that such truths would require an extra-ethical foundation or vindication—in metaphysics, or the philosophy of language, or epistemology—and have worried that no such thing is available. Pragmatist Quietism argues that, on the contrary, there are objective ethical truths, and that these neither require nor admit of a foundation or vindication from outside of ethics. Recognizing that the idea of an ethical realm untethered from inquiry into reality, meaning, and knowledge may strike us as mysterious, this book offers a comprehensive meta-ethical worldview within which this jarring proposal may be ensconced. The key moves are, first, the assimilation of normative-ethical inquiry to the sorts of debates that many have labelled 'merely verbal' or 'non-substantive', and second, the adoption of pragmatism—the approach to inquiry and explanation on which we endeavour to guide our thinking by considerations of value, rather than aiming to correctly represent the world.

Author's Profile

Andrew Sepielli
University of Toronto, Mississauga


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