David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
To hold an error theory about morality is to endorse a kind of radical moral skepticism—a skepticism analogous to atheism in the religious domain. The atheist thinks that religious utterances, such as “God loves you,” really are truth-evaluable assertions (as opposed to being veiled commands or expressions of hope, etc.), but that the world just doesn’t contain the items (e.g., God) necessary to render such assertions true. Similarly, the moral error theorist maintains that moral judgments are truth-evaluable assertions (thus contrasting with the noncognitivist), but that the world doesn’t contain the properties (e.g., moral goodness, evil, moral obligation) needed to render moral judgments true. In other words, moral discourse aims at the truth but systematically fails to secure it. If there is no such property as moral wrongness, for example, then no judgment of the form “X is morally wrong” will be true (where “X” denotes an actual action or state of affairs). Advocates of this position include Hinckfuss 1987; Joyce 2001; Mackie 1977 (see MACKIE, J. L.). Various forms of moral skepticism—some of which are arguably instances of the error theoretic stance—have been familiar to philosophers since ancient times. (See SKEPTICISM, MORAL.) Error theoretic views can be controversial—as in the case of religion and morality—or widely agreed upon—as in the case of ghosts and phlogiston. It is important to note that error theorists maintain that the judgments in question are erroneous not merely because of the absence of any objective moral facts sufficient to render them true, but also because of the absence of any non-objective moral facts sufficient to render them true. There is, for example, a kind of moral realist who maintains that moral properties are objective features of the universe (see REALISM, MORAL). There is also a family of metaethical views according to which moral properties are in some manner constituted by us—by our beliefs, attitudes, practices, etc..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Joel Marks (2010). An Amoral Manifesto Part II. Philosophy Now (81):23-26.
Joel Marks (2010). An Amoral Manifesto Part I. Philosophy Now (80):30-33.
Michael Stingl & John Collier (2004). After the Fall: Religious Capacities and the Error Theory of Morality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):751-752.
Toby Svoboda (2011). Hybridizing Moral Expressivism and Moral Error Theory. Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (1):37-48.
Stephen Finlay (2008). The Error in the Error Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
Simon Robertson (2008). How to Be an Error Theorist About Morality. Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):107-125.
Richard Joyce, Metaethical Pluralism: How Both Moral Naturalism and Moral Skepticism May Be Permissible Positions.
Christian Coons (2011). How to Prove That Some Acts Are Wrong (Without Using Substantive Moral Premises). Philosophical Studies 155 (1):83–98.
Richard Garner (2007). Abolishing Morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):499 - 513.
Added to index2010-02-10
Total downloads87 ( #40,709 of 1,780,746 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?