Against quietist normative realism

Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240 (2011)
Abstract
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 normative reasons, his defense at best succeeds only in shifting the focus of metaphysical enquiry. I then set aside the details of Scanlon’s view, and argue on general grounds that that the quietist realist cannot finesse a crucial metanormative task: to explain the contrast between the correct normative system and alternative putatively normative standards.
Keywords Metaethics  Metanormative quietism  Metanormative realism  Normativity  Reasons  Scanlon
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References found in this work BETA
Richard Boyd (1988). How to Be a Moral Realist. In G. Sayre-McCord (ed.), Essays on Moral Realism. Cornell University Press. 181-228.
James Dreier (2002). Metaethics and Normative Commitment. Philosophical Issues 12 (s1):241-263.

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