Chapter

The Parity Premise

Terence Cuneo

in The Normative Web

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199218837
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711749 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199218837.003.0004
 The Parity Premise

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This chapter contains the second stage of argument for the core argument's first premise. The strategy employed is to point out that that there is a class of standard objections ordinarily leveled against the claim that moral facts exist. These objections purport to establish that were moral facts to exist, then they would display what are called the ‘objectionable features’ — properties such as being intrinsically motivating, being categorically reason-giving, being explanatorily idle, and so forth. Were the standard objections to establish this, the claim is that when suitably modified, they would also establish that were epistemic facts to exist, then they too would exhibit the objectionable features. These two claims allow us to formulate the following direct argument for the core argument's first premise: if moral facts do not exist, then this is simply because they would display the objectionable features. But there is nothing about moral facts in particular that makes their having these features objectionable; it is the character of the features themselves that renders moral facts problematic. Accordingly, we can affirm: if moral facts do not exist, then nothing has the objectionable features. However, if epistemic facts exist, then there is something that has the objectionable features. Or, otherwise put: if nothing has the objectionable features, then epistemic facts do not exist. From this it follows that the core argument's first premise is true: (1) if moral facts do not exist, then epistemic facts do not exist.

Keywords: categorical reasons; moral motivation; objectionable features; standard antirealist arguments; supervenience; epistemic facts; moral facts

Chapter.  11601 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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