Meaning, Moral Realism, and the Importance of Morality

Philosophical Studies:1-14 (forthcoming)
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Many philosophers have suspected that the normative importance of morality depends on moral realism. In this paper, I defend a version of this suspicion: I argue that if teleological forms of moral realism, those that posit an objective purpose to human life, are true, then we gain a distinctive kind of reason to do what is morally required. I argue for this by showing that if these forms of realism are true, then doing what is morally required can provide a life with meaning, which is a widespread human need. I also argue that rival meta-ethical views, like anti-realism or non-naturalist realism, cannot make morality meaning-conferring in this way.
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Archival date: 2018-11-15
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The Sources of Normativity.Korsgaard, Christine
The Moral Problem.Smith, Michael
Modern Moral Philosophy.Anscombe, G. E. M.

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