Commonsense Objectivism and the Persistence of Moral Judgment

Shaun Nichols

in Sentimental Rules

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195169348
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835041 | DOI:
 Commonsense Objectivism and the Persistence of Moral Judgment

Show Summary Details


Many philosophers maintain that common sense is committed to a kind of moral objectivism. This chapter exploits recent empirical work to defend this claim. The chapter also maintains that the account of moral judgment developed in the volume contributes to a familiar Humean argument against moral objectivism. However, even if the commonsense commitment to moral objectivity is wrong, that does not immediately lead to an “error theory” according to which all commonsense moral judgments are false since they all presuppose objectivity. Rather, there are fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind that need to be settled before we can determine whether error theory follows. In any case, recent evidence suggests that many of the central characteristics of moral judgment can be preserved in the absence of a commitment to objectivity.

Keywords: error theory; moral/conventional distinction; moral objectivism; relativism; response dependence; John Mackie

Chapter.  14613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.