David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
This essay offers a new interpretation of Nietzsche's argument for moral skepticism (i.e., the metaphysical thesis that there do not exist any objective moral properties or facts), an argument that should be of independent philosophical interest as well. On this account, Nietzsche offers a version of the argument from moral disagreement, but, unlike familiar varieties, it does not purport to exploit anthropological reports about the moral views of exotic cultures, or even garden-variety conflicting moral intuitions about concrete cases. Nietzsche, instead, calls attention to the single most important and embarrassing fact about the history of moral theorizing by philosophers over two millennia: namely, that no rational consensus has been secured on any substantive, foundational proposition about morality. Persistent and apparently intractable disagreement on foundational questions, of course, distinguishes moral theory from inquiry in the sciences and mathematics (perhaps in kind, certainly in degree). According to Nietzsche, the best explanation for this disagreement is that, even though moral skepticism is true, philosophers can still construct valid dialectical justifications for moral propositions because the premises of different justifications will answer to the psychological needs of at least some philosophers and thus be deemed true by some of them. The essay concludes by considering various attempts to defuse this abductive argument for skepticism based on moral disagreement and by addressing the question whether the argument "proves too much," that is, whether it might entail an implausible skepticism about a wide range of topics about which there is philosophical disagreement.
|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
Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer-Landau (2014). The Moral Fixed Points: New Directions for Moral Nonnaturalism. Philosophical Studies 171 (3):399-443.
Justin Clarke-Doane (2014). Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy. Noûs 48 (2):238-255.
Similar books and articles
Kieran Setiya (2010). Does Moral Theory Corrupt Youth? Philosophical Topics 38 (1):205-222.
Ralph Wedgwood (2010). The Moral Evil Demons. In Richard Feldman & Ted Warfield (eds.), Disagreement. Oxford University Press
Johan E. Gustafsson & Martin Peterson (2012). A Computer Simulation of the Argument From Disagreement. Synthese 184 (3):387–405.
David O. Brink (1999). Objectivity and Dialectical Methods in Ethics. Inquiry 42 (2):195 – 212.
David Enoch (2009). How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism? Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15 - 50.
Linda Zagzebski (1987). Does Ethics Need God? Faith and Philosophy 4 (3):294-303.
Folke Tersman (2006). Moral Disagreement. Cambridge University Press.
David Killoren (2010). Moral Intuitions, Reliability and Disagreement. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (1):1-35.
Andrew Sneddon (2009). Normative Ethics and the Prospects of an Empirical Contribution to Assessment of Moral Disagreement and Moral Realism. Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (4):447-455.
Sarah McGrath (2008). Moral Disagreement and Moral Expertise. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 3. Oxford University Press 87-108.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads167 ( #23,451 of 1,938,828 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #219,396 of 1,938,828 )
How can I increase my downloads?