Moral Realism

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord

in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195325911
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Moral Realism

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People come, early and easily, to think in moral terms. What they think, when they are thinking in these terms, often has a large impact on their decisions and actions, as well as on their responses to what others do. Moral thinking is a familiar and vital aspect of one's life. Yet when people ask themselves honestly what it is they are thinking, in thinking some acts are right and others wrong, that some things are good, others bad, that some character traits are virtues, other vices, it turns out to be extremely difficult to say. This article characterizes moral realism as the position that: there are moral facts, people's moral judgments are made true or false by the moral facts, and the mere fact that we have the moral beliefs we have is not what makes the moral facts be as they are.

Keywords: moral terms; moral thinking; moral facts; moral realism; moral judgments

Article.  11391 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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