Against Moral Contingentism

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):209-217 (2021)
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[This paper is available as open access from the publisher.]The conventional wisdom in ethics is that pure moral laws are at least metaphysically necessary. By contrast, Moral Contingentism holds that pure moral laws are metaphysically contingent. This paper raises a normative objection to Moral Contingentism: it is worse equipped than Moral Necessitarianism to account for the normative standing or authority of the pure moral laws to govern the lives of the agents to whom they apply. Since morality is widely taken to have such a standing, failing to account for it would be a significant problem. The objection also shows that the debate about the modal status of moral principles isn’t a debate solely within modal metaphysics, but has implications for topics in moral philosophy.
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First archival date: 2021-04-07
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