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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. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Jeff Behrends (2012). Enoch, David. Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism. Review of Metaphysics 66 (1):146-148.
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  5. 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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  6. Robert G. Burton (1987). Neointuitionism: The Neglected Moral Realism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):147-152.
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. Margaret Holmgren (1991). The Poverty of Naturalistic Moral Realism: Comments on Timmons. Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (S1):131-135.
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  15. Evan K. Jobe (1990). Sturgeon's Defence of Moral Realism. Dialogue 29 (02):267-.
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  16. Jason Kawall (2005). Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 59 (1):204-205.
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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. James Lindemann Nelson (2001). Marcel S. Lieberman: Commitment, Value and Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 35 (1):131-135.
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  22. Tristram McPherson (2011). Against Quietist Normative Realism. Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
    Recently, some philosophers have suggested that a form of robust realism about ethics, or normativity more generally, does not face a significant explanatory burden in metaphysics. I call this view metaphysically quietist normative realism . This paper argues that while this view can appear to constitute an attractive alternative to more traditional forms of normative realism, it cannot deliver on this promise. I examine Scanlon’s attempt to defend such a quietist realism, and argue that rather than silencing metaphysical questions about (...)
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  23. Thaddeus Metz (2008). God, Morality and the Meaning of Life. In Samantha Vice & Nafsika Athanassoulis (eds.), The Moral Life. Palgrave Macmillan. 201--227.
    In this chapter, I critically explore John Cottingham's most powerful argument for the thesis that the existence of God is necessary for meaning in life. This is the argument that life would be meaningless without an invariant morality, which could come only from God. After demonstrating that Cottingham's God-based ethic can avoid not only many traditional Euthyphro meta-ethical concerns, but also objections at the normative level, I consider whether it can entail the unique respect in which morality is normative, and, (...)
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  24. Thaddeus Metz (2002). Realism and the Censure Theory of Punishment. In Patricia Smith & Paolo Comanducci (eds.), Legal Philosophy: General Aspects. Franz Steiner Verlag. 117-29.
    I focus on the metaphysical underpinnings of the censure theory of punishment, according to which punishment is justified if and because it expresses disapproval of injustice. Specifically, I seek to answer the question of what makes claims about proportionate censure true or false. In virtue of what is it the case that one form of censure is stronger than another, or that punishment is the censure fitting injustice? Are these propositions true merely because of social conventions, as per the dominant (...)
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  25. Alexander Miller (2009). Moral Realism and Program Explanation: A Very Short Symposium 1: Reply to Nelson. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):337-341.
    In chapter 8 of Miller 2003, I argued against the idea that Jackson and Pettit's notion of program explanation might help Sturgeon's non-reductive naturalist version of moral realism respond to the explanatory challenge posed by Harman. In a recent paper in the AJP[Nelson 2006, Mark Nelson has attempted to defend the idea that program explanation might prove useful to Sturgeon in replying to Harman. In this note, I suggest that Nelson's argument fails.
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  26. James Lindemann Nelson (1989). Desire's Desire for Moral Realism: A Phenomenological Objection to Non-Cognitivism. Dialogue 28 (03):449-.
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  27. Mark T. Nelson (1990). Review: Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. Philosophical Books 31 (3):169-171.
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  28. Nathan Nobis (2006). Moral Realism. Teaching Philosophy 29 (2):178-181.
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  29. D. Phillips (2001). Commitment, Value, and Moral Realism. Philosophical Review 110 (2):278-280.
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  30. Matthew Pianalto (2008). Moral Realism and Ways of Life. Southwest Philosophy Review 24 (1):71-78.
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  31. Louis P. Pojman (1991). Book Review:Moral Realism. Torbjorn Tannsjo. [REVIEW] Ethics 101 (4):868-.
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  32. A. Price (1997). Review. Aristotle and Moral Realism. R Heinaman. The Classical Review 47 (1):79-81.
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  33. Frank C. Richardson (2003). Robinson's Moral Realism and Hermeneutics. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 23 (1):22-29.
    Robinson's defense of moral realism is stimulating, admirable, and convincing in many respects. He is particularly effective in mounting a multi-faceted attack on Mackie's famous "argument from queerness" and other views that deny that moral realities can be part of the furniture of the world. Certain other of his arguments about the ontological standing of moral entities, however, might be seen to open rather a wide gulf between them and ordinary experience. I suggest that hermeneutic philosophy, which I find more (...)
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  34. Daniel N. Robinson (2005). Christian Moral Realism. Faith and Philosophy 22 (1):115-119.
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  35. Katherin Rogers (2005). God and Moral Realism. International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (1):103-118.
    Only God, or a very god-like being, can provide both the objectivity and the normative power necessary for a really robust moral realism. Further, I argue that the classical theist position—the view of Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas—that morality is grounded in the nature of God, supplies a better metaphysical background for a strong moral realism than Divine Command Theory does. I respond briefly to the criticism that belief in God can have no positive role to play in solving ethical problems, (...)
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  36. C. S. Rosati (2006). Moral Realism: A Defence. Philosophical Review 115 (4):536-539.
    Book Information Moral Realism: A Defence. Moral Realism:\nA Defence Russ Shafer-Landau , Oxford : Clarendon Press ,\n2003 , x + 322 , {Â}\textsterling35 ( cloth ) By Russ\nShafer-Landau. Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. x + 322.\n{Â}\textsterling35 (cloth:).
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  37. Alexander Rosenberg (1990). Moral Realism and Social Science. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):150-166.
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  38. Steven Ross (2011). Justification, Moral Realism, and Expressivism. Philosophical Forum 42 (1):21-33.
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  39. Steven Ross (2004). Real, Modest Moral Realism. Philosophical Forum 35 (4):411-421.
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  40. Hannes Rusch, Christoph Luetge & Eckart Voland (2014). Experimentelle und Evolutionäre Ethik: Eine neue Synthese in der Moralphilosophie? In Matthias Maring (ed.), Bereichsethiken im interdisziplinären Dialog. KIT Scientific Publishing. 163-179.
    Dieser Beitrag widmet sich der Darstellung des systematischen Zusammenhangs des mit dem Aufkommen der Experimentellen Philosophie neu entstandenen Teilbereichs der Experimentellen Ethik mit der spätestens seit den 1980er Jahren wieder populär gewordenen Evolutionären Ethik, einer Teildisziplin des philosophischen Naturalismus. Nach einer kurzen Charakterisierung beider ethischer Teilbereiche wird am Beispiel der metaethischen Frage nach der Objektivität moralischer Urteile dafür argumentiert, dass die partikulären Ergebnisse experimenteller Methoden in der Moralphilosophie erst in einer umfassenderen Perspektive auf menschliches Handeln vollständig interpretierbar werden: Ohne eine (...)
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  41. Bruce Russell (1984). Moral Relativism and Moral Realism. The Monist 67 (3):435-451.
  42. Stephen Schiffer (2002). Moral Realism and Indeterminacy. Philosophical Issues 12 (Realism and Relativism):286-304.
    I’m going to argue for something that some of you will find repugnant but which I can’t help thinking may be true—namely, that there are no determinate moral truths. As will become apparent, my interest in moral discourse as manifested in this paper derives more than a little from my interest in the theory of meaning. Moral discourse has always presented a puzzle for the theory of meaning and philosophical logic, and I take myself to be following the advice of (...)
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  43. Robert F. J. Seddon (2007). Terence Cuneo, The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Philosophical Writings (35):63--66.
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  44. Russ Shafer-Landau (1994). Supervenience and Moral Realism. Ratio 7 (2):145-152.
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  45. Edward D. Sherline (1992). Moral Realism and Objective Theories of the Right. Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (4):127-140.
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  46. Tara Smith (1987). Moral Realism: Blackburn's Response to the Frege Objection. Southern Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):221-228.
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  47. Wm David Solomon (1988). Moral Realism and the Amoralist. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1):377-393.
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  48. Nicholas L. Sturgeon (1986). What Difference Does It Make Whether Moral Realism is True? Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (S1):115-141.
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  49. Torbjörn Tännsjö (1988). The Moral Significance of Moral Realism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):247-261.
    Moral realism does not imply any interesting moral statements. However, There are pragmatic consequences of our acceptance of moral realism. If we accept moral realism we have good reasons to be concerned about moral arguments, And we are able to account for moral fallibility. If, On the other hand, We accept moral irrealism, A concern for moral arguments and moral consistency seems completely arbitrary, And we have difficulties to account for moral fallibility. We may even come to think, When accepting (...)
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  50. P. Lance Temasky (1992). Moral Realism Revisited: On Achievable Morality. Educational Theory 42 (2):201-216.
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