A Simple Escape from Moral Twin Earth

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):109-118 (2018)
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This paper offers a simple response to the Moral Twin Earth (MTE) objection to Naturalist Moral Realism (NMR). NMR typically relies on an externalist metasemantics such as a causal theory of reference. The MTE objection is that such a theory predicts that terms like ‘good’ and ‘right’ have a different reference in certain twin communities where it’s intuitively clear that the twins are talking about the same thing when using ‘good’. I argue that Boyd’s causal regulation theory, the original target of the MTE objection, was never vulnerable to this objection. The theory contains an epistemic constraint on reference which implies that either the property that causally regulates uses of ‘good’ isn’t different for the twin communities or, in scenarios where the reference is different, the communities diverge in ways where it’s not intuitively clear that ‘good’ has the same reference for them.

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Pekka Väyrynen
University of Leeds


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