David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophia 41 (3):751-755 (2013)
In “The possibility of morality,” Phil Brown considers whether moral error theory is best understood as a necessary or contingent thesis. Among other things, Brown contends that the argument from relativity, offered by John Mackie—error theory’s progenitor—supports a stronger modal reading of error theory. His argument is as follows: Mackie’s is an abductive argument that error theory is the best explanation for divergence in moral practices. Since error theory will likewise be the best explanation for similar divergences in possible worlds similar to our own, we may conclude that error theory is true at all such worlds, just as it is in the actual world. I contend that Brown’s argument must fail, as abductive arguments cannot support the modal conclusions he suggests. I then consider why this is the case, concluding that Brown has stumbled upon new and interesting evidence that agglomerating one’s beliefs can be epistemically problematic—an issue associated most famously with Henry Kyburg’s lottery paradox
|Keywords||Abduction Error theory Lottery paradox John Mackie|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Henry E. Kyburg Jr (1961). Probability and the Logic of Rational Belief. Wesleyan University Press.
Christian Coons (2011). How to Prove That Some Acts Are Wrong (Without Using Substantive Moral Premises). Philosophical Studies 155 (1):83–98.
Philip Brown (2013). The Possibility of Morality. Philosophical Studies 163 (3):627-636.
David C. Makinson (1965). The Paradox of the Preface. Analysis 25 (6):205-207.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Simon Robertson (2008). How to Be an Error Theorist About Morality. Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):107-125.
John Mizzoni (2010). Evolution and Error Theory. Social Science Information 49 (2):165-194.
Michael Smith (2010). Beyond the Error Theory. In Richard Joyce & Simon Kirchin (eds.), A World Without Values. Springer
Charles R. Pigden (2007). Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):441 - 456.
Simon Kirchin (2010). A Tension in the Moral Error Theory. In Richard Joyce & Simon Kirchin (eds.), A World Without Values: Essays on John Mackie's Moral Error Theory.
Bart Streumer (2011). Review of David Sobel and Steven Wall, Reasons for Action. [REVIEW] Analysis 71 (1):200-202.
Richard Rowland (2013). Moral Error Theory and the Argument From Epistemic Reasons. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (1):1-24.
Stephen Finlay (2008). The Error in the Error Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
Richard Joyce (2011). The Error In 'The Error In The Error Theory'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):519-534.
Stephen Finlay (2011). Errors Upon Errors: A Reply to Joyce. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):535 - 547.
By Igor Douven (2008). The Lottery Paradox and Our Epistemic Goal. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):204–225.
Bo Petersson (2011). Axel Hägerström and His Early Version of Error Theory. Theoria 77 (1):55-70.
Graham Oddie & Dan Demetriou (2007). The Fictionalist's Attitude Problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):485 - 498.
Added to index2012-10-06
Total downloads25 ( #120,994 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #118,705 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?