Claims and Counter-claims: A General Introduction to Moral Realism

Christian F. R. Illies

in The Grounds of Ethical Judgement

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780198238324
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Claims and Counter-claims: A General Introduction to Moral Realism

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This chapter examines the debate about moral realism which can be found in current analytic philosophy and outlines the position of moral realism and anti-realism and the main arguments raised by proponents of both sides. It seems that a rational solution of the conflict between these very different perspectives is not possible, since realists and anti-realists not only disagree heavily about whether moral facts are ‘real’ in any meaningful sense, but also about the criteria for deciding upon this question. Moral realism has the burden of proof in this debate, and can only make a proper claim to be right if it can provide a rational justification of moral judgements. Traditional methodologies for such a justification of normative notions are considered and rejected as inappropriate to the task, including deduction, induction, and intuition.

Keywords: moral realism; anti-realism; moral judgements; moral facts; ethics; rational justification; induction; deduction; intuition

Chapter.  12514 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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