David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies In Metaethics, Volume 1 (2006)
At the beginning of the twentieth century, G. E. Moore’s open question argument convinced many philosophers that moral statements were not equivalent to statements made using non-moral or descriptive terms. For any non-moral description of an object or object it seemed that competent speakers could without confusion doubt that the action or object was appropriately characterized using moral terms such as ‘good’ or ‘right’. The question of whether the action or object so described was good or right was always open, even to competent speakers. In the absence of any systematic theory to explain the possibility of synthetic as opposed to analytic identities, many were convinced this demonstrated that moral properties could not be identified with any natural (or supernatural) properties. Thus Moore and others concluded that moral properties such as goodness were irreducible sui generis properties, not identical to natural..
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