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Meta-Ethics

Edited by Daniel Star (Boston University)
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  1. added 2014-11-20
    Jeffrey White (201?). An Information Processing Model of Psychopathy. In Unknown (ed.), moral psychology. Nova. 1-53.
    Psychopathy is increasingly in the public eye. However, it is yet to be fully and effectively understood. Within the context of the DSM-IV, for example, it is best regarded as a complex family of disorders. The upside is that this family can be tightly related along common dimensions. Characteristic marks of psychopaths include a lack of guilt and remorse for paradigm case immoral actions, leading to the common conception of psychopathy rooted in affective dysfunctions. An adequate portrait of psychopathy is (...)
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  2. added 2014-11-19
    Danny Frederick, Values in Education and the Community.
    The UK School Curriculum and Assessment Authority proposes a set of values to which everyone can subscribe, which can provide schools with a secure basis for the provision of spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. The proposal is misguided. The code would be determined by political negotiation, which would bring the whole idea of moral education into disrepute, and it would be an impediment to moral advancement, which requires trial and error experimentation. Imposing a code on all state schools would (...)
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  3. added 2014-11-19
    Regina A. Rini (forthcoming). How Not to Test for Philosophical Expertise. Synthese:1-22.
    Recent empirical work appears to suggest that the moral intuitions of professional philosophers are just as vulnerable to distorting psychological factors as are those of ordinary people. This paper assesses these recent tests of the ‘expertise defense’ of philosophical intuition. I argue that the use of familiar cases and principles constitutes a methodological problem. Since these items are familiar to philosophers, but not ordinary people, the two subject groups do not confront identical cognitive tasks. Reflection on this point shows that (...)
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  4. added 2014-11-19
    Gerald K. Harrison (2014). The Euthyphro, Divine Command Theory and Moral Realism. Philosophy.
    Divine command theories of metaethics are commonly rejected on the basis of the Euthyphro problem. In this paper, I argue that the Euthyphro can be raised for all forms of moral realism. I go on to argue that this does not matter as the Euthyphro is not really a problem after all. I then briefly outline some of the attractions of a divine command theory of metaethics. I suggest that given one of the major reasons for rejecting such an analysis (...)
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  5. added 2014-11-19
    Gerald K. Harrison (2014). The Euthyphro, Divine Command Theory and Moral Realism. Philosophy.
    Divine command theories of metaethics are commonly rejected on the basis of the Euthyphro problem. In this paper, I argue that the Euthyphro can be raised for all forms of moral realism. I go on to argue that this does not matter as the Euthyphro is not really a problem after all. I then briefly outline some of the attractions of a divine command theory of metaethics. I suggest that given one of the major reasons for rejecting such an analysis (...)
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  6. added 2014-11-18
    Seth Shabo (forthcoming). More Trouble With Tracing. Erkenntnis.
    Theories of moral responsibility rely on tracing principles to account for derivative moral responsibility. Manuel Vargas has argued that such principles are problematic. To show this, he presents cases where individuals are derivatively blameworthy for their conduct, but where there is no suitable earlier time to which their blameworthiness can be traced back. John Martin Fischer and Neal Tognazzini have sought to resolve this problem by arguing that blameworthiness in these scenarios can be traced back, given the right descriptions of (...)
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  7. added 2014-11-18
    Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael Van Riel & Luca Barlassina (2014). The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection. Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
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  8. added 2014-11-16
    Patrick Todd, Manipulation. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
  9. added 2014-11-13
    Stephen Barker (2014). Pure Versus Hybrid Expressivism and the Enigma of Conventional Implicature. In Guy Fletcher & Mike Ridge (eds.), Having it Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern
Metaethics. Oxford.
    Can hybridism about moral claims be made to work? I argue it can if we accept the conventional implicature approach developed in Barker (Analysis 2000). However, this kind of hybrid expressivism is only acceptable if we can make sense of conventional implicature, the kind of meaning carried by operators like ‘even’, ‘but’, etc. Conventional implictures are a form of pragmatic presupposition, which involves an unsaid mode of delivery of content. I argue that we can make sense of conventional implicatures, but (...)
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  10. added 2014-11-12
    Nicholas Laskowski (2014). How to Pull a Metaphysical Rabbit Out of an End-Relational Semantic Hat. Res Philosophica 91 (4):589-607.
    Analytic reductivism in metaethics has long been out of philosophical vogue. In Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normativity (2014), Stephen Finlay tries to resuscitate it by developing an analytic metaethical reductive naturalistic semantics for ‘good.’ He argues that an end-relational semantics is the simplest account that can explain all of the data concerning the term, and hence the most plausible theory of it. I argue that there are several assumptions that a reductive naturalist would need to make about contextual (...)
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  11. added 2014-11-10
    Stephen Finlay (forthcoming). 'Ought': OUT OF ORDER. In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper argues that the innovation of an ordering source parameter in the standard Lewis-Kratzer semantics for modals was a mistake, at least for English auxiliaries like ‘ought’, and that a simpler dyadic semantics (as proposed in my earlier work) provides a superior account of normative uses of modals. I programmatically investigate problems arising from (i) instrumental conditionals, (ii) gradability and “weak necessity”, (iii) information-sensitivity, and (iv) conflicts, and show how the simpler semantics provides intuitive solutions given three basic moves: (...)
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  12. added 2014-11-10
    Stephen Finlay (2014). The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement. In Guy Fletcher & Michael Ridge (eds.), Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics. Oxford University Press. 124-148.
    Relational theories of normative language allegedly face special problems in accounting for the extent of disagreement, but this is everybody’s problem because normative sentences are relativized to different information in contexts of deliberation and advice. This paper argues that a relational theory provides a pragmatic solution that accounts for some disagreements as involving inconsistent preferences rather than beliefs. This is shown to be superior to the semantic solution offered by expressivists like Allan Gibbard, as it accounts for a wider range (...)
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  13. added 2014-11-10
    Stephen Finlay (2012). Explaining Reasons. Deutsches Jahrbuch Fuer Philosophie 4:112-126.
    What does it mean to call something a “reason”? This paper offers a unifying semantics for the word ‘reason’, challenging three ideas that are popular in contemporary philosophy; (i) that ‘reason’ is semantically ambiguous, (ii) that the concept of a normative reason is the basic normative concept, and (iii) that basic normative concepts are unanalyzable. Nonnormative uses of ‘reason’ are taken as basic, and as meaning explanation why. Talk about normative reasons for action is analyzed in terms of explanations why (...)
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  14. added 2014-11-09
    Aaron Elliott (2014). Can Moral Principles Explain Supervenience? Res Philosophica 91 (4):629-659.
    The distribution of moral properties supervenes on the distribution of natural properties, and this provides a puzzle for non-naturalism: what could explain supervenience if moral properties are not natural properties? Enoch claims moral principles explain supervenience. But this solution is incomplete without an account of what moral principles and properties are, and what relation holds between them. This paper begins to develop such an account by exploring analogous issues for Realism about Laws of nature in philosophy of science. Appealing to (...)
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  15. added 2014-11-06
    Peter Olsthoorn (2015). Honor in Political and Moral Philosophy. State University of New York Press.
    In this history of the development of ideas of honor in Western philosophy, Peter Olsthoorn examines what honor is, how its meaning has changed, and whether it can still be of use. Political and moral philosophers from Cicero to John Stuart Mill thought that a sense of honor and concern for our reputation could help us to determine the proper thing to do, and just as important, provide us with the much-needed motive to do it. Today, outside of the military (...)
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  16. added 2014-11-06
    Brendan Dill & Stephen Darwall (2014). Moral Psychology as Accountability. In Justin D'Arms Daniel Jacobson (ed.), Moral Psychology and Human Agency: Philosophical Essays on the Science of Ethics. Oxford University Press. 40-83.
    Recent work in moral philosophy has emphasized the foundational role played by interpersonal accountability in the analysis of moral concepts such as moral right and wrong, moral obligation and duty, blameworthiness, and moral responsibility (Darwall 2006; 2013a; 2013b). Extending this framework to the field of moral psychology, we hypothesize that our moral attitudes, emotions, and motives are also best understood as based in accountability. Drawing on a large body of empirical evidence, we argue that the implicit aim of the central (...)
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  17. added 2014-11-03
    J. Paul Kelleher (2014). Relevance and Non-Consequentialist Aggregation. Utilitas 26 (4):385-408.
    Interpersonal aggregation involves the combining and weighing of benefits and losses to multiple individuals in the course of determining what ought to be done. Most consequentialists embrace thoroughgoing interpersonal aggregation, the view that any large benefit to each of a few people can be morally outweighed by allocating any smaller benefit to each of many others, so long as this second group is sufficiently large. This would permit letting one person die in order to cure some number of mild headaches (...)
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  18. added 2014-10-27
    Amir Saemi (2014). On John Laird's “Value and Obligation”. Ethics 125 (1):235-237,.
    Unjustly forgotten, Laird’s “value and obligation”, I shall argue, is of great relevance to contemporary moral philosophy. To this aim, I will explore three main theses of Laird’s paper which are as follows: (T1) We can’t understand judgments of value and obligation in terms of mere feelings and desires. (T2) Desire must be guided by cognition of some value. (T3) Judgments of rightness and obligation must be grounded in judgments of value.
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  19. added 2014-10-25
    Yair Levy (forthcoming). Brennan, Eriksson, Goodin, and Southwood, 'Explaining Norms' (OUP 2013). [REVIEW] Mind.
  20. added 2014-10-23
    Mavis Biss (2014). On W. P. Ker's “Imagination and Judgment”. Ethics 125 (1):232-234,.
    In “Imagination and Judgment” W.P. Ker argues, contrary to the “ordinary teaching” of the moralists of his day, that we have good reason to consider imagination as “the highest form of practical wisdom or prudence” (475). Modes of imaginative thought that direct human passion towards morally valuable ends are best understood as a form of reason or an intellectual virtue, as opposed to a dangerous distraction from reality and threat to good judgment. Ker’s piece remains of interest partly because it (...)
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  21. added 2014-10-22
    Fabrice Correia & Christine Tappolet (2014). Plus on Monte Plus on S'amuse : Introduction. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 9 (2):149-151.
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  22. added 2014-10-22
    Bruno Guindon (2014). Sources, raisons et exigences. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 9 (2):152-165.
    Il existe de nombreuses sources d’exigences. Certaines exigences sont normatives dans la mesure où elles impliquent des affirmations concernant ce que nous avons raison de croire, faire, désirer, etc. À ce titre, les exigences morales sont parmi les meilleures candidates. Si la morale exige que l’on tienne notre promesse, il semble que nous avons une raison de la tenir. Cependant, ce ne sont pas toutes les exigences qui sont normatives en ce sens. Le catholicisme exige que l’on assiste à la (...)
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  23. added 2014-10-22
    Antti Kauppinen (2014). Hate and Punishment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence:1-19.
    According to legal expressivism, neither crime nor punishment consists merely in intentionally imposing some kind of harm on another. Crime and punishment also have an expressive aspect. They are what they are in part because they enact attitudes toward others—in the case of crime, some kind of disrespect, at least, and in the case of punishment, society’s condemnation or reprobation. Punishment is justified, at least in part, because (and when) it uniquely expresses fitting condemnation or other retributive attitude. What makes (...)
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  24. added 2014-10-19
    Felipe Ledesma (2001). El mal radical. Notas sobre la rebelión de las masas. Estudios Orteguianos 2:131-135.
    The radical evil. Notes on the revolt of masses. In his Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, Kant speaks about a radical evil present in the human being, a tendency to place before the desire with regard to the rational duty, which is impossible to tear up by the roots from the human nature. In The revolt of the masses, Ortega also speaks about an evil that is anyway present in the so called mass-man, in each one of us, (...)
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  25. added 2014-10-01
    Thorsten Sander (2014). A Frege‐Geach Style Objection to Cognitivist Judgment Internalism. Dialectica 68 (3):391-408.
    According to (cognitivist) judgment internalism, there is a conceptual connection between moral judgment and motivation. This paper offers an argument against that kind of internalism that does not involve counterexamples of the amoralist sort. Instead, it is argued that these forms of judgment internalism fall prey to a Frege-Geach type argument.
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  26. added 2014-09-30
    Sem de Maagt (forthcoming). In Defence of Fact-Dependency. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
    G.A. Cohen and David Estlund claim that, because of their fact-dependent nature, constructivist theories of justice do not qualify as moral theories about fundamental values such as justice. In this paper, I defend fact-dependent, constructivist theories of justice against this fact-independency critique. I argue that constructivists can invoke facts among the grounds for accepting fundamental principles of justice while maintaining that the foundation of morality has to be non-empirical. My claim is that constructivists ultimately account for the normativity of fact-dependent (...)
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  27. added 2014-09-30
    Gunnar Björnsson (2014). Essentially Shared Obligations. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):103-120.
    This paper lists a number of puzzles for shared obligations – puzzles about the role of individual influence, individual reasons to contribute towards fulfilling the obligation, about what makes someone a member of a group sharing an obligation, and the relation between agency and obligation – and proposes to solve them based on a general analysis of obligations. On the resulting view, shared obligations do not presuppose joint agency.
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  28. added 2014-09-30
    Juha Räikkä (1996). Are There Alternative Methods in Ethics? Grazer Philosophische Studien 52:173-189.
    Do all methods of moral justification resemble the method of reflective equilibrium in presupposing that moral judgment's being justified depends at least in part on its being appropriately related to our actual substantial moral views? Can a moral judgment be justified without such a presupposition? I shall distinguish three versions of the no-option argument According to any version of the no-option argument, there is certain fact which characterizes moral theories, and that fact implies that there is no option other than (...)
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  29. added 2014-09-29
    Randolph Clarke (2014). Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophical theories of agency have focused primarily on actions and activities. But, besides acting, we often omit to do or refrain from doing certain things. How is this aspect of our agency to be conceived? This book offers a comprehensive account of omitting and refraining, addressing issues ranging from the nature of agency and moral responsibility to the metaphysics of absences and causation. Topics addressed include the role of intention in intentional omission, the connection between negligence and omission, the distinction (...)
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  30. added 2014-09-29
    Juha Räikkä (1996). Are There Alternative Methods in Ethics? Grazer Philosophische Studien 52:173-189.
    Do all methods of moral justification resemble the method of reflective equilibrium in presupposing that moral judgment's being justified depends at least in part on its being appropriately related to our actual substantial moral views? Can a moral judgment be justified without such a presupposition? I shall distinguish three versions of the no-option argument According to any version of the no-option argument, there is certain fact which characterizes moral theories, and that fact implies that there is no option other than (...)
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  31. added 2014-09-25
    Andras Szigeti (2014). Collective Responsibility and Group-Control. In Julie Zahle & Finn Collin (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism-Holism Debate. Springer. 97-116.
  32. added 2014-09-22
    Sven Nyholm (2006). Reason-Based Value or Value-Based Reasons? In Björn Haglund & Helge Malmgren (eds.), Kvantifikator För En Dag. Essays Dedicated to Dag Westerståhl on His Sixtieth Birthday. Philosophical Communications. 193-202.
    In this paper, I discuss practical reasons and value, assuming a coexistence thesis according to which reasons and value always go together. I start by doing some taxonomy, distinguishing among three different ways of accounting for the relation between practical reasons and the good. I argue that, of these views, the most plausible one is that according to which something’s being good just consists in how certain facts about the thing in question – other than that of how it is (...)
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  33. added 2014-09-18
    Tomasz Żuradzki (forthcoming). Moral Uncertainty in Bioethical Argumentation: A New Understanding of the Pro-Life View on Early Human Embryos. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics:1-17.
    In this article I present a new interpretation of the pro-life view on the status of early human embryos. In my understanding, this position is based not on presumptions about the ontological status of embryos and their developmental capabilities but on the specific criteria of rational decisions under uncertainty and on a cautious response to the ambiguous status of embryos. This view, which uses the decision theory model of moral reasoning, promises to reconcile the uncertainty about the ontological status of (...)
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  34. added 2014-09-17
    Gianluca Verrucci (2014). Introduzione alla metaetica. FrancoAngeli.
    Von Wright rileva, tuttavia, quanto sia pretestuoso ritenere che l'etica normativa possa fare a meno dell'analisi metaetica e della chiarificazione di concetti come ' buono' e 'obbligazione' che essa appunto estesamente presuppone. Alla luce di  ...
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  35. added 2014-09-17
    Gianluca Verrucci (2010). Sulla motivazione morale. Ragione Pratica 34:301-308.
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  36. added 2014-09-17
    Gianluca Verrucci (2010). Ragion pratica e normatività. Il costruttivismo kantiano di Rawls, Korsgaard e O'Neill. Mimesis.
  37. added 2014-09-17
    François Schroeter (2009). Le relativisme moral et le projet de coopération épistémique. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 4 (1):4-19.
    Cet article examine de façon critique certaines des récentes tentatives de défendre une position relativiste en métaéthique. Les adeptes du relativisme ont tenté avec beaucoup d’ingéniosité de montrer comment leur position peut soit accepter soit invalider l’intuition selon laquelle nous parlons tous de la même chose quand nous utilisons le vocabulaire moral. Mon argument cherche à établir qu’ils ont ce faisant négligé l’une des fonctions centrales de notre discours moral : créer un forum favorisant la coopération épistémique dans le but (...)
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  38. added 2014-09-15
    Gunnar Björnsson (forthcoming). Disagreement, Correctness, and the Evidence for Metaethical Absolutism. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford.
    Metaethical absolutism is the view that moral concepts have non-relative satisfaction conditions that are constant across judges and their particular beliefs, attitudes, and cultural embedding. If it is correct, there is an important sense in which parties of moral disputes are concerned to get the same things right, such that their disputes can be settled by the facts. If it is not correct, as various forms of relativism and non-cognitivism imply, such coordination of concerns will be limited. The most influential (...)
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  39. added 2014-09-10
    Timothy Lane & Owen Flanagan (forthcoming). Neuroexistentialism, Eudaimonics, and Positive Illusions. In Byron Kaldis (ed.), Mind and Society: Cognitive Science Meets the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. SYNTHESE Philosophy Library Studies in Epistemology, Logic, Methodology, & Philosophy of Science. Springer Science+Business.
    There is a distinctive form of existential anxiety, neuroexistential anxiety, which derives from the way in which contemporary neuroscience provides copious amounts of evidence to underscore the Darwinian message—we are animals, nothing more. One response to this 21st century existentialism is to promote Eudaimonics, a version of ethical naturalism that is committed to promoting fruitful interaction between ethical inquiry and science, most notably psychology and neuroscience. We argue that philosophical reflection on human nature and social life reveals that while working (...)
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  40. added 2014-09-10
    Nikil Mukerji (2014). Technological Progress and Responsibility. In Fiorella Battaglia, Nikil Mukerji & Julian Nida-Rümelin (eds.), Rethinking Responsibility in Science and Technology. Pisa University Press. 25-36.
    In this essay, I will examine how technological progress affects the responsibilities of human agents. To this end, I will distinguish between two interpretations of the concept of responsibility, viz. responsibility as attributability and substantive responsibility. On the former interpretation, responsibility has to do with the idea of authorship. When we say that a person is responsible for her actions we mean that she is to be seen as the author of these actions. They can be attributed to her, such (...)
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  41. added 2014-09-09
    Jussi Suikkanen (forthcoming). Naturalism in Metaethics. In Kelly James Clark (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. Wiley-Blackwell.
    This chapter offers an introduction to naturalist views in contemporary metaethics. Such views attempt to find a place for normative properties (such as goodness and rightness) in the concrete physical world as it is understood by both science and common sense. The chapter begins by introducing simple naturalist conceptual analyses of normative terms. It then explains how these analyses were rejected in the beginning of the 20th Century due to G.E. Moore’s influential Open Question Argument. After this, the chapter considers (...)
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  42. added 2014-09-08
    Daan Evers, Relativism and the Metaphysics of Value.
    I argue that relativists about evaluative language face some of the same objections as non-naturalists in ethics. If these objections have force, there is reason to doubt the existence of relative evaluative states of affairs. In they do not exist, then relativism leads to an error theory. This is unattractive, as the position was specifically designed to preserve the truth of many evaluative claims.
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  43. added 2014-09-04
    Daan Evers (2014). Review of Moral Error Theory, by Jonas Olson. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  44. added 2014-09-03
    Jesse S. Summers & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (forthcoming). Scrupulous Agents. Philosophical Psychology:1-20.
    Scrupulosity (a form of OCD involving obsession with morality) raises fascinating issues about the nature of moral judgment and about moral responsibility. After defining scrupulosity, describing its common features, and discussing concrete case studies, we discuss three peculiar aspects of moral judgments made by scrupulous patients: perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty, and moral thought-action fusion. We then consider whether mesh and reasons-responsiveness accounts of responsibility explain whether the scrupulous are morally responsible.
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  45. added 2014-08-31
    Moti Gorin (2014). Towards a Theory of Interpersonal Manipulation. In Michael Weber Christian Coons (ed.), Manipulation: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.
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  46. added 2014-08-31
    Moti Gorin (2014). Do Manipulators Always Threaten Rationality? American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1).