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Moral Realism

Edited by David Killoren (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
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Subcategories:History/traditions: Moral Realism
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  1. David Eric Alexander, Teleological Moral Realism : An Explication and Defense.
    Contemporary moral realists assume that goodness is a property susceptible to Kripkean/Putnamian developments in philosophy of language and metaphysics. However, close attention to the actual use of the term ‘good’ reveals that ‘good’ does not refer to a property but to a predicate-forming functor. Relying on an argument advanced by P. T. Geach, I argue that the semantics of ‘good’ is such that statements of the form “x is good” are semantically incomplete. In order to complete such statements some substantive (...)
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  2. I. An Epistemological Argument (2002). Moral Realism and Indeterminacy. In Ernest Sosa & Enrique Villanueva (eds.), Realism and Relativism. Blackwell.
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  3. Anne Margaret Baxley (2012). The Problem of Obligation, the Finite Rational Will, and Kantian Value Realism. Inquiry 55 (6):567-583.
    Abstract Robert Stern's Understanding Moral Obligation is a remarkable achievement, representing an original reading of Kant's contribution to modern moral philosophy and the legacy he bequeathed to his later-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century successors in the German tradition. On Stern's interpretation, it was not the threat to autonomy posed by value realism, but the threat to autonomy posed by the obligatory nature of morality that led Kant to develop his critical moral theory grounded in the concept of the self-legislating moral agent. Accordingly, (...)
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  4. Chris Beckett (2007). The Reality Principle: Realism as an Ethical Obligation. Ethics and Social Welfare 1 (3):269-281.
    Although a ?realist? stance is sometimes contrasted with a ?principled? one, this article argues that realism is, of itself, an important ethical principle. Acknowledging the problems that exist in defining ?reality?, and the fact that the nature of reality is contested, the article nevertheless insists on an ?out there? reality. It asserts that the existence of this external reality is, in practice, generally accepted, and indeed must be accepted if we are to make the important distinction between truth and falsehood. (...)
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  5. Jeff Behrends (2013). Meta‐Normative Realism, Evolution, and Our Reasons to Survive. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):486-502.
    In this article, I articulate and respond to an epistemological challenge to meta-normative realism. The challenge has it that, if realism about the normative is correct, and if evolutionary forces have significantly influenced our normative judgments, then it would be a remarkable coincidence if the content of the normative facts and our normative judgments were aligned. I criticize David Enoch's recent attempt to meet this challenge, but provide an alternative response that is structurally similar. I argue that if realism is (...)
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  6. Jeff Behrends (2012). Enoch, David. Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism. Review of Metaphysics 66 (1):146-148.
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  7. Lars Bergström (1981). Outline for an Argument for Moral Realism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 12:215-225.
    Moral realism is defined here as the ontological view that there are moral facts. This is compared with traditional views in moral philosophy, such as naturalism, nonnaturalism, and noncognitivism. It is argued that we have no good reasons to avoid inconsistencies among our moral views unless (we believe that) moral realism is true. Various counter-arguments to this claim are criticized. Moreover, it is argued that, since we do not want to give up the practice of moral reasoning, we have a (...)
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  8. Lars Bergström (1981). Outline for an Argument for Moral Realism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 12:215-225.
    Moral realism is defined here as the ontological view that there are moral facts. This is compared with traditional views in moral philosophy, such as naturalism, nonnaturalism, and noncognitivism. It is argued that we have no good reasons to avoid inconsistencies among our moral views unless (we believe that) moral realism is true. Various counter-arguments to this claim are criticized. Moreover, it is argued that, since we do not want to give up the practice of moral reasoning, we have a (...)
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  9. Lars Bergström (1981). Outline for an Argument for Moral Realism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 12:215-225.
    Moral realism is defined here as the ontological view that there are moral facts. This is compared with traditional views in moral philosophy, such as naturalism, nonnaturalism, and noncognitivism. It is argued that we have no good reasons to avoid inconsistencies among our moral views unless (we believe that) moral realism is true. Various counter-arguments to this claim are criticized. Moreover, it is argued that, since we do not want to give up the practice of moral reasoning, we have a (...)
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  10. Simon Blackburn (2015). Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Philosophical Studies 172 (4):843-853.
    In this paper I explore the points of similarity and difference that distinguish expressivists such as myself from the position known as Cornell realism. I argue that there are considerable overlaps of doctrine, although these doctrines are arrived at in very different ways. I urge that Cornell realism can only benefit by taking on some of the commitments of expressivism.
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  11. Ph Blosser (1990). Moral Realism and Justification. Philosophia Reformata 55:177.
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  12. Eva D. Bodanszky (1988). Moral Realism and Other Issues. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    I discuss in this work several issues in recent ethical theory, most of them issues about the relations between evaluative concepts and metaphysical concepts. ;The first part is about the question whether there is some clear sense to the expression "moral realism" that makes it an appropriate title for a fundamental position in ethics. In Chapters 1 and 2, I survey a number of attempts to characterize such a position. These generally describe moral realism as the thesis that there are (...)
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  13. David Owen Brink (1985). Moral Realism: A Defense. Dissertation, Cornell University
    I defend moral realism against various metaphysical and epistemological objections and develop a utilitarian specification of moral realism. ;Chapter 1. Moral realism is the claim that there are moral facts whose existence and nature are independent of our evidence for them. Moral realism derives appeal from the plausibility of realism about other disciplines and from the way we deliberate in moral matters. ;Chapter 2. Moral realism is not undermined by general epistemological objections. Realists can and should degend a coherentist epistemology. (...)
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  14. Keith Edward Burkum (1998). Moral Realism: From Metaphysics to Ethics as Action. Dissertation, Vanderbilt University
    The focus of this project, Moral Realism: From Metaphysics To Ethics As Action, is to show that the effort to ground ethics in metaphysics is profoundly misguided. Various accounts of moral realism are discussed as leading examples of the effort to support the authority of ethics by means of metaphysical realism. These views require adherance both to the theses of globalism and precision which jointly imply the construction of ethics as system of thought split between the first-order and second-order levels (...)
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  15. Robert G. Burton (1987). Neointuitionism: The Neglected Moral Realism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):147-152.
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  16. Panayot Butchvarov (1988). Realism in Ethics. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1):395-412.
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  17. Douglas Joel Butler (1988). Morality, Meaning and Realism. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    Moral realism is developed as the view that moral language is mind-independent, specifically that moral sentences relate to something other than our socially constructed conventions, in such a way that: each moral sentence is rendered determinately true or false simpliciter; some affirmative moral sentences are true; and we are possibly unable in principle to determine the truth or the falsity of moral sentences. Three further results are defended. Moral realism is shown to be compatible with moral pluralism. Moral realism need (...)
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  18. Peter Carruthers & Scott M. James (2008). Evolution and the Possibility of Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):237-244.
    A commentary on Richard Joyce's The Evolution of Morality.
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  19. Josep E. Corbí (2002). The Relevance of Moral Disagreement. Some Worries About Nondescriptivist Cognitivism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):217-233.
    Nondescriptivist Cognitivism vindicates the cognitive value of moral judgements despite their lack of descriptive content. In this paper,I raise a few worries about the proclaimed virtues of this new metaethical framework Firstly, I argue that Nondescriptivist Cognitivism tends to beg the question against descriptivism and, secondly, discuss Horgan and Timmons' case against Michael Smith's metaethical rationalism. Although I sympathise with their main critical claims against the latter, I am less enthusiastic about the arguments that they provide to support them.
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  20. D. F. Cox (2005). Review of Moral Realism: A Defence by R Shafer-Landau. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 46 (1):92-93.
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  21. Terence Cuneo (2011). 1 Moral Realism. In Christian Miller (ed.), Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. 3.
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  22. Jonathan Dancy & Christopher Hookway (1986). Two Conceptions of Moral Realism. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 60:167 - 205.
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  23. José Luis López Y. López de Lizaga (2010). Kant y Apel: el problema de la fundamentación trascendental de la moral. Revista de Filosofia 35 (2):59-82.
    Este artículo compara los argumentos de Kant contra la deducción trascendental de la ley moral con el intento de fundamentación pragmático-trascendental de la moral propuesto por Apel. A pesar de mejorar los argumentos trascendentales kantianos, las tesis de Apel sobre la fundamentación trascendental de la moral parecen incurrir en una confusión entre la constricción de las leyes lógicas y la obligatoriedad de las normas morales, y en última instancia parecen borrar la diferencia kantiana entre razón teórica y razón práctica.
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  24. Katerina Deligiorgi (2011). What a Kantian Can Know a Priori? A Defense of Moral Cognitivism. In Sorin Baiasu, Sami Pihlstrom & Howard Williams (eds.), Politics and Metaphysics in Kant.
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  25. Michael R. Depaul (1993). Brink's Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (3):731-735.
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  26. Keith DeRose (2010). The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism, by Terence Cuneo. Mind 119 (473):1-5.
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  27. Heather Dyke (2003). What Moral Realism Can Learn From the Philosophy of Time. In Time and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 11--25.
    It sometimes happens that advances in one area of philosophy can be applied to a quite different area of philosophy, and that the result is an unexpected significant advance. I think that this is true of the philosophy of time and meta-ethics. Developments in the philosophy of time have led to a new understanding of the relation between semantics and metaphysics. Applying these insights to the field of meta-ethics, I will argue, can suggest a new position with respect to moral (...)
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  28. Crawford L. Elder (1987). Moral Realism: Its Aetiology and a Consequent Dilemma. American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1):33 - 45.
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  29. Joe Fearn (1998). Seeing Aspects, Seeing Value. Sorites 9:32-45.
    This paper is a defense of moral realism. It claims that Hume's projectivism and abuse of resultance has led us to gross distortions of non-cognitivist ethics. The analogy of moral properties with secondary properties is noted, before offering a stronger theory of moral realism. This theory recognises moral properties as constituting part of the manifest image, in a way that is satisfactory both ontologically and epistemologically This involves a rejection of austere, scientific reductionism. This model of moral realism relies on (...)
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  30. Luca Ferrero (2009). Constitutivism and the Schmagency Challenge. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume Four. Oup Oxford.
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  31. Simon Fitzpatrick (2014). Moral Realism, Moral Disagreement, and Moral Psychology. Philosophical Papers 43 (2):161-190.
    This paper considers John Doris, Stephen Stich, Alexandra Plakias, and colleagues’ recent attempts to utilize empirical studies of cross-cultural variation in moral judgment to support a version of the argument from disagreement against moral realism. Crucially, Doris et al. claim that the moral disagreements highlighted by these studies are not susceptible to the standard ‘diffusing’ explanations realists have developed in response to earlier versions of the argument. I argue that plausible hypotheses about the cognitive processes underlying ordinary moral judgment and (...)
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  32. Review by: Guy Fletcher (2014). Review: Russ Shafer-Landau, Ed., Oxford Studies in Metaethics. [REVIEW] Ethics 125 (1):282-288,.
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  33. James Joseph Flynn (1995). Aristotle's Relationship to Moral Realism and Natural Law. Dissertation, Fordham University
    This study is an investigation into Aristotle's ethical system as regards the question of whether it is a true instance of moral realism, and, in particular, whether it is a genuine case of natural law ethics. Moral realism, as I define it, includes any ethical position that asserts that ethical judgments are true or false insofar as they correspond to a reality that is in some way independent of the person or culture making the ethical judgment. For example, whether slavery (...)
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  34. Antonio Gaitan Torres (2010). The Normative Web. An Argument for Moral Realism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):333-337.
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  35. John E. Hare (2006). Prescriptive Realism. Philosophia Reformata 71 (1):14-30.
    In my book God’s Call1 I gave an historical account of the debate within twentieth century analytic philosophy between moral realism and expressivism. Moral realism is the view that moral properties like goodness or cruelty exist independently of our making judgements that things have such properties. Such judgements are, on this theory, objectively true when the things referred to have the specified properties and objectively false when they do not. Expressivism is the view that when a person makes a moral (...)
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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. P. Helm (2003). Book Reviews : God's Call: Moral Realism, God's Commands and Human Autonomy, by John E. Hare. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2001. X + 122 Pp. Hb. 9.99. ISBN 0-8028-3903-. [REVIEW] Studies in Christian Ethics 16 (1):92-94.
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  39. Margaret Holmgren (1991). The Poverty of Naturalistic Moral Realism: Comments on Timmons. Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (S1):131-135.
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  40. Jonathan A. Jacobs (1990). Being True to the World Moral Realism and Practical Wisdom.
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  41. Evan K. Jobe (1990). Sturgeon's Defence of Moral Realism. Dialogue 29 (02):267-.
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  42. Zuzanna Kasprzyk (2009). Realizm moralny a realizm wewnętrzny. Zastosowanie koncepcji realizmu wewnętrznego Hilarego Putnama w metaetyce. Filozofia Nauki 2.
    Moral Realism is such theory in metaethics, which can be characterized by three theses: ontological thesis - according to which moral facts exist independently of human opinion; epistemological thesis, that moral judgements can be truth apt, and moral knowledge is possible; and normativity thesis, that asserting a moral claim is a sufficient reason for acting in accordance with its content. However, in contemporary metaethics there is no realistic theory which would embrace all three theses together. Naturalists assert first two theses, (...)
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  43. Jason Kawall (2005). Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 59 (1):204-205.
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  44. Jason Kawall (2005). Moral Realism and Arbitrariness. Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):109-129.
    In this paper I argue (i) that choosing to abide by realist moral norms would be as arbitrary as choosing to abide by the mere preferences of a God (a difficulty akin to the Euthyphro dilemma raised for divine command theorists); in both cases we would lack reason to prefer these standards to alternative codes of conduct. I further develop this general line of thought by arguing in particular (ii) that we would lack any noncircular justification to concern ourselves with (...)
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  45. John B. Killoran (1990). Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. Review of Metaphysics 43 (3):622-624.
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  46. Pavlos Kontos (2011). Aristotle's Moral Realism Reconsidered: Phenomenological Ethics. Routledge.
    This book elaborates a moral realism of phenomenological inspiration by introducing the idea that moral experience, primordially, constitutes a perceptual grasp of actions and of their solid traces in the world. The main thesis is that, before any reference to values or to criteria about good and evil—that is, before any reference to specific ethical outlooks—one should explain the very materiality of what necessarily constitutes the ‘moral world’. These claims are substantiated by means of a text- centered interpretation of Aristotle’s (...)
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  47. Arto Laitinen, Culturalist Moral Realism.
    In this paper I defend a ‘culturalist’ but nevertheless non-relativistic moral theory, taking Charles Taylor’s writings on this topic as my guide.1 Taylor is a realist concerning natural sciences, the ontology of persons and the ontology of goods (or meanings, significances or values). Yet, his realisms in these three areas differ significantly from one another, and therefore one has to be careful not to presuppose too rigid views of what realism must be like. Taylor’s moral realism can be called culturalist, (...)
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  48. Gerald R. B. Lang (1994). An Enquiry Into Moral Realism.
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  49. Stephen Laurence, Eric Margolis & Angus Dawson (1999). Moral Realism and Twin Earth. Facta Philosophica 1:135-165.
    Hilary Putnam's Twin Earth thought experiment has come to have an enormous impact on contemporary philosophical thought. But while most of the discussion has taken place within the context of the philosophy of mind and language, Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons (H8cT) have defended the intriguing suggestion that a variation on the original thought experiment has important consequences for ethics.' In a series of papers, they' ve developed the idea of a Moral Twin Earth and have argued that its significance (...)
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  50. James Lenman (2008). Review of Terence Cuneo,, The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6).
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