David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 11 (1-4):175 – 189 (1968)
It is argued that anthropologists become moral relativists by mistake typically in two ways: (1) by confusing moral with factual discourse (dubbed the Normativist Fallacy) which derives in turn from a failure to distinguish adequately between direct and indirect discourse in the description of moral systems and preferences; or (2) by confusing definitive with hypothetical statements in descriptive ethics (the Definitivist Fallacy). Two representative arguments illustrating these errors are analyzed and some morals drawn from the results regarding the status of relativist arguments in descriptive ethics and the prerogatives of applied anthropologists
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