Alternatives to Realism

Angus Ritchie

in From Morality to Metaphysics

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652518
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745850 | DOI:
Alternatives to Realism

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This chapter evaluates the theory of ethics developed by Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard. It argues that their ‘moral quasi-realism’ cannot vindicate the fundamental ethical commitments which were defended in Chapter 1. Either it must say that our current sentiments fix moral truth (whoever ‘we’ are deemed to be) or they must allow that the truth could be different from what we now think. The chapter argues that neither alternative is acceptable: the former position rules out future moral progress (‘emancipatory changes’), whereas the latter (in the absence of any notion of a more objective order of reason) re-opens the door to the very kind of morally obnoxious counterfactuals quasi-realism was designed to avoid.

Keywords: quasi-realism; expressivism; subjectivism; counter-factuals; Blackburn; Gibbard

Chapter.  8467 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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