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Summary

Moral error theory is roughly the view that morality is a (perhaps biologically-useful) illusion. More precisely, error theory combines a cognitivist, representationalist view of moral judgments with an antirealist view of the moral domain. Error theorists typically reason as follows: moral judgments aim to represent the world as being a certain way, morally speaking, and are thus capable of being either true or false depending on whether the world has the moral features one takes it to have. However, the world is morally void in that there are no moral facts, properties, or values ‘out there in the world’ to be discovered. Thus, our moral judgments are typically false. When we judge, for example, that slavery is immoral, we are (perhaps unknowingly) projecting our feelings, wants and demands onto the world and mistakenly thinking that we’ve come into cognitive contact with objective moral facts. While error theorists widely agree about the nature of morality and moral judgment, they disagree about what to do with moral discourse--an issue that has come to be known as the now-what problem. Some error theorists who address now-what problem contend that morality is a useful fiction which, with some qualifications, should be retained. Adherents of this approach are called moral fictionalists. It should be noted, however, that some fictionalists are not error theorists. Mark Kalderon, for example, rejects the view that moral judgments aim to represent the world as being a certain way, morally speaking. He contends, instead, that propositions (including moral ones) aim to describe the world, but that people use these descriptive propositions to express non-representational mental states. Finally, some error theorists (e.g., Bart Streumer) adopt an error-theoretic stance toward any and all irreducibly normative facts or properties, not just moral ones. Given the substantial degree of overlap between normative and moral error theories, articles on normative error theory are included in this category as well. 

Key works

The most prominent defense of moral error theory in the 20th century is arguably Mackie 1977. For a dissenting interpretation of Mackie, see Berker 2019. Joyce 2001 provides a more detailed defense of error theory. Joyce 2005 defends error theory on both philosophical and scientific grounds. Other noteworthy defenses of error theory include Streumer 2017, Olson 2014, Garner 2007, and Burgess 2007.  Core readings in moral fictionalism include  Nolan et al 2005 , Joyce 2005 , and Kalderon 2005.

Introductions Joyce 2022 is an introductory article on error theory.  Eklund 2010 is an introductory article on fictionalism as presented and defended in various areas of philosophy, including general metaphysics and the philosophy of mathematics. 
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257 found
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  1. Moorean Arguments Against the Error Theory: A Defense.Eric Sampson - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    Moorean arguments are a popular and powerful way to engage highly revisionary philosophical views, such as nihilism about motion, time, truth, consciousness, causation, and various kinds of skepticism (e.g., external world, other minds, inductive, global). They take, as a premise, a highly plausible first-order claim (e.g., cars move, I ate breakfast before lunch, it’s true that some fish have gills) and conclude from it the falsity of the highly revisionary philosophical thesis. Moorean arguments can be used against nihilists in ethics (...)
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  2. Can We Defend Normative Error Theory?Joshua Taccolini - forthcoming - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy.
    Normative error theorists aim to defend an error theory which says that normative judgments ascribe normative properties, and such properties, including reasons for belief, are never instantiated. Many philosophers have raised objections to defending a theory which entails that we cannot have reason to believe it. Spencer Case objects that error theorists simply cannot avoid self-defeat. Alternatively, Bart Streumer argues that we cannot believe normative error theory but that, surprisingly, this helps its advocates defend it against these objections. I think (...)
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  3. Revolutionary Normative Subjectivism.Lewis Williams - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    The what next question for moral error theorists asks: if moral discourse is systematically error-ridden, then how, if at all, should moral error theorists continue to employ moral discourse? Recent years have seen growing numbers of moral error theorists come to endorse a wider normative error theory according to which all normative judgements are untrue. But despite this shift, the what next question for normative error theorists has received far less attention. This paper presents a novel solution to this question: (...)
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  4. Moral Fictionalism and Misleading Analogies.François Jaquet - 2024 - In Richard Joyce & Stuart Brock (eds.), Moral Fictionalism and Religious Fictionalism. Oxford University Press.
    In a central variant, moral fictionalism is the view that we should replace moral belief with make-believe, that is, be disposed to accept some moral propositions in everyday contexts and to reject all such propositions in more critical circumstances. It is said by its opponents to face three significant problems: in contrast with a real morality, a fictional morality would not allow for deductive inferences; moral make-believe would lack the motivational force that is typical of moral belief; and moral make-believers (...)
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  5. Anti-Luminosity and Anti-Realism in Metaethics.Jussi Suikkanen - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-24.
    This paper begins by applying a version of Timothy Williamson’s anti-luminosity argument to normative properties. This argument suggests that there must be at least some unknowable normative facts in normative Sorites sequences, or otherwise we get a contradiction given certain plausible assumptions concerning safety requirements on knowledge and our doxastic dispositions. This paper then focuses on the question of how the defenders of different forms of metaethical anti-realism (namely, error theorists, subjectivists, relativists, contextualists, expressivists, response dependence theorists, and constructivists) could (...)
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  6. Madhyamaka Metaethics.Jason Dockstader - 2023 - Sophia 62 (1):111-131.
    This paper develops two novel views that help solve the ‘now what’ problem for moral error theorists concerning what they should do with morality once they accept it is systematically false. It does so by reconstructing aspects of the metaethical and metanormative reflections found in the Madhyamaka Buddhist, and in particular the Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka Buddhist, tradition. It also aims to resolve the debate among contemporary scholars of Madhyamaka Buddhism concerning the precise metaethical status of its views, namely, whether Madhyamaka Buddhism (...)
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  7. Do formal objections to the error theory overgeneralize?Bart Streumer & Daniel Wodak - 2023 - Analysis 83 (4):732-741.
    We argued that formal objections to the error theory overgeneralize and therefore fail. Christine Tiefensee and Gregory Wheeler deny this. We argue that they are wrong, for two reasons. The first concerns how we should adjudicate conflicts between formal and substantive commitments. The second concerns an overlooked tension between formal objections and non-error-theoretic views. Our discussion shows that the commitments behind formal objections to the error theory, such as the dual schema, should be regarded as much more contentious than is (...)
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  8. Moral Nihilism—So What?Lewis Williams - 2023 - Ethics 134 (1):108-121.
    Edward Elliott and Jessica Isserow argue that it is not usually in the best interests of ordinary human beings to learn the truth of moral nihilism. According to Elliott and Isserow, ordinary human beings would suffer costs from learning the truth of moral nihilism that are unlikely to be fully compensated for by any benefits. Here I provide reasons to doubt that ordinary human beings would suffer costs from learning the truth of moral nihilism and present a dilemma for Elliott (...)
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  9. The Perils of Rejecting the Parity Argument.YiLi Zhou & Rhys Borchert - 2023 - Philosophy 98 (2):215-241.
    Many moral error theorists reject moral realism on the grounds that moral realism implies the existence of categorical normativity, yet categorical normativity does not exist. Call this the Metaphysical Argument. In response, some moral realists have emphasized a parity between moral normativity and epistemic normativity. They argue that if one kind of normativity is rejected, then both must be rejected. Therefore, one cannot be a moral error theorist without also being an epistemic error theorist. Call this the Parity Argument. In (...)
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  10. The Second Revolution of Moral Fictionalism.Eline Gerritsen - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    If our moral beliefs rest on a mistake, as moral error theorists claim, what should we do with them? According to Richard Joyce’s revolutionary moral fictionalism, error theorists should pretend to believe moral propositions in order to keep the benefits moral thinking has for their preference satisfaction. This, he claims, frees error theory from radical practical implications. In response, I argue that implementing fictionalism would not preserve our moral practices, but disrupt them. The change from moral belief to make-belief yields (...)
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  11. Demystifying Normativity: Morality, Error Theory, and the Authority of Norms.Eline Gerritsen - 2022 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews, University of Stirling & University of Groningen
    We are subject to many different norms telling us how to act, from moral norms to etiquette rules and the law. While some norms may simply be ignored, we live under the impression that others matter for what we ought to do. How can we make sense of this normative authority some norms have? Does it fit into our naturalist worldview? Many philosophers claim it does not. Normativity is conceived to be distinct from ordinary natural properties, making it mysterious. The (...)
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  12. Error Theory.Richard Joyce - 2022 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
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  13. Adopting moral abolitionism.Marc Krellenstein - 2022 - Academia Letters 5298.
    Moral error theory claims that all moral judgments are in error. Moral abolitionism is the view that the error theorist should then eliminate moral talk or judgments. This paper discusses the possible effects of adopting abolitionism on lying, breaking the law, adultery, and murder/revenge.
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  14. Is Theism Compatible With Moral Error Theory?StJohn Lambert - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (3):1-20.
    This paper considers whether theism is compatible with moral error theory. This issue is neglected, perhaps because it is widely assumed that these views are incompatible. I argue that this is mistaken. In so doing, I articulate the best argument for thinking that theism and moral error theory are incompatible. According to it, these views are incompatible because theism entails that God is morally good, and moral error theory entails that God is not. I reject this argument. Since it is (...)
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  15. Mackie and the Meaning of Moral Terms.Tammo Lossau - 2022 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 10 (1):1-13.
    Moral error theory is comprised of two parts: a denial of the existence of objective values, and a claim about the ways in which we attempt to make reference to such objective values. John Mackie is sometimes presented as endorsing the view that we necessarily presuppose such objective values in our moral language and thought. In a series of recent papers, though, Victor Moberger (2017), Selim Berker (2019), and Michael Ridge (2020) point out that Mackie does not seem to commit (...)
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  16. Error, Consistency and Triviality.Christine Tiefensee & Gregory Wheeler - 2022 - Noûs 56 (3):602-618.
    In this paper, we present a new semantic challenge to the moral error theory. Its first component calls upon moral error theorists to deliver a deontic semantics that is consistent with the error-theoretic denial of moral truths by returning the truth-value false to all moral deontic sentences. We call this the ‘consistency challenge’ to the moral error theory. Its second component demands that error theorists explain in which way moral deontic assertions can be seen to differ in meaning despite necessarily (...)
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  17. The Goal Problem in the 'Now What' Problem.Xinkan Zhao - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (3).
    In this discussion note, I argue that the philosophers who propose solutions to the 'now what' problem for error theory typically face a goal problem. The problem has its root in the argument they back up their proposal with, which is one of instrumental reason, consisting of two premises. First, we as normal agents have a certain set of goals; second, agents with this set of goals instrumentally should accept their proposal. I argue that when we specify the set of (...)
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  18. Abolizionismo Morale.Mattia Cecchinato - 2021 - Aphex 23.
    Secondo la teoria dell’errore tutte le proposizioni morali sono false poiché non si riferiscono ad alcun referente nel mondo. Se tale metaetica fosse corretta, dovremmo abbandonare il pensiero morale o continuare come nulla fosse? Come vivremmo se nelle nostre scelte non tenessimo conto di alcuna considerazione morale? L’abolizionismo morale argomenta che le nostre vite risulterebbero essere migliori, e perciò tenta di persuaderci a eliminare le pratiche morali. Questo contributo presenta un’introduzione critica al progetto abolizionista, indagandone le ragioni e mettendone in (...)
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  19. Don’t Stop Believing (Hold onto That Warm Fuzzy Feeling).Edward J. R. Elliott & Jessica Isserow - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):4-37.
    If beliefs are a map by which we steer, then, ceteris paribus, we should want a more accurate map. However, the world could be structured so as to punish learning with respect to certain topics—by learning new information, one’s situation could be worse than it otherwise would have been. We investigate whether the world is structured so as to punish learning specifically about moral nihilism. We ask, if an ordinary person had the option to learn the truth about moral nihilism, (...)
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  20. Nietzschean Moral Error Theory.Patrick Hassan - 2021 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 38 (4):375-396.
    Nietzsche has sometimes been interpreted as endorsing an error theory about moral judgements. A host of passages provide prima facie reason for such an interpretation. However, the extent of the appropriateness of this interpretation is a matter of dispute. The parameters of his alleged error theory are unclear. This paper reconsiders the evidence for the view that Nietzsche is a moral error theorist and makes the case that Nietzsche defends a local theory about a particular form of “morality,” but that (...)
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  21. A dilemma for evolutionary debunking arguments.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):45-69.
    Evolutionary debunkers claim that evolutionary explanations of moral phenomena lead to sceptical conclusions. The aim of this paper is to show that even if we grant debunkers the speculative claims that evolution provides the best explanation of moral phenomena and that there are no other moral phenomena for which moral facts/properties are indispensable, the sceptical conclusions debunkers seek to establish still do not follow. The problem for debunkers is to link the empirical explanatory claim to the normative conclusion that moral (...)
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  22. Defending the Kratzerian presuppositional error theory.Elliot Salinger - 2021 - Analysis 81 (4):701–709.
    This paper provides a new solution to the problem of moral permissions for the moral error theory. The problem is that the error theorist seems committed to the claim that all actions are morally permitted, as well as to the contradictory claim that no action is morally permitted. My solution understands the moral error theory as the view that folk moral discourse is systematically in error by virtue of suffering from semantic presupposition failure, which I show is consistent with a (...)
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  23. Why formal objections to the error theory fail.Bart Streumer & Daniel Wodak - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):254-262.
    Many philosophers argue that the error theory should be rejected because it is incompatible with standard deontic logic and semantics. We argue that such formal objections to the theory fail. Our discussion has two upshots. First, it increases the dialectical weight that must be borne by objections to the error theory that target its content rather than its form. Second, it shows that standard deontic logic and semantics should be revised.
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  24. Unbelievable Errors: An Error Theory about All Normative Judgements, written by Bart Streumer. [REVIEW]Conrad Bakka - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (2):245-248.
    Unbelievable Errors: An Error Theory about All Normative Judgements, written by Bart Streumer.
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  25. The Type-B Moral Error Theory.Anthony Robert Booth - 2020 - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    I introduce a new version of Moral Error Theory, which I call Type-B Moral Error Theory. According to a Type-B theorist there are no facts of the kind required for there to be morality in stricto sensu, but there can be irreducible ‘normative’ properties which she deems, strictly speaking, to be morally irrelevant. She accepts that there are instrumental all things considered oughts, and categorical pro tanto oughts, but denies that there are categorical all things considered oughts on pain of (...)
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  26. The Normative Error Theorist Cannot Avoid Self-Defeat.Spencer Case - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):92-104.
    Many philosophers have noted that normative error theorists appear to be committed to saying ‘Error theory is true, but I have no reason to believe it’, which seems paradoxical. In defence of error...
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  27. Reactionary Fictionalism.Jason Dockstader - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (2):238-263.
    Fictionalism is the view that the claims of a target discourse are best seen as being fictional in some way, as being expressed in some pretense manner, or as not being about the traditional posits of the discourse. The contemporary taxonomy of fictionalist views is quite elaborate. Yet, there is a version of fictionalism that has failed to develop and which corresponds to the earliest form of the view found in the history of philosophy, East and West. I call this (...)
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  28. Reactionary Moral Fictionalism.Jason Dockstader - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):519-534.
    There is a debate among moral error theorists. It concerns what is to be done with moral discourse once it is believed to be systematically false or untrue. It has been called the ‘now what’ problem. Should error theorists abolish morality or insulate themselves in some way from this nihilistic consequence of belief in error theory? Assertive moral abolitionism aims to have error theorists avoid any insulation and abolish morality altogether. Revolutionary moral fictionalism aims for insulation by having error theorists (...)
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  29. Richard Joyce, Essays in Moral Skepticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. ix + 274. [REVIEW]Jessica Isserow - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (1):126-129.
  30. Sorting Out Solutions to the Now-What Problem.François Jaquet - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (3).
    Moral error theorists face the so-called “now-what problem”: what should we do with our moral judgments from a prudential point of view if these judgments are uniformly false? On top of abolitionism and conservationism, which respectively advise us to get rid of our moral judgments and to keep them, three revisionary solutions have been proposed in the literature: expressivism, naturalism, and fictionalism. In this paper, I argue that expressivism and naturalism do not constitute genuine alternatives to abolitionism, of which they (...)
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  31. Reason and Ethics: The Case Against Objective Value.Joel Marks - 2020 - New York and Abington, Oxon: Routledge.
    Reason and Ethics defends the theoretical claim that all values are subjective and the practical claim that human affairs can be conducted fruitfully in full awareness of this. Joel Marks goes beyond his previous work defending moral skepticism to question the existence of all objective values. This leads him to suggest a novel answer to the Companions in Guilt argument that the denial of morality would mean relinquishing rationality as well. Marks disarms the argument by conceding the irreality of both (...)
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  32. Moral Error Theory Without Epistemic Error Theory: Scepticism About Second-Personal Reasons.Richard Rowland - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (280):547-569.
    Proponents of the epistemic companions in guilt argument argue that we should reject the moral error theory because it entails that there are no epistemic reasons. In this paper, I investigate whether a plausible version of the moral error theory can be constructed that does not entail an error theory about epistemic reasons. I argue that there are no irreducibly normative second-personal reasons even if there are irreducibly normative reasons. And epistemic reasons are not second-personal reasons. In this case, a (...)
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  33. Error Theory and Abolitionist Ethics.Lucia Schwarz - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (3):431-455.
    Here is a prima facie plausible view: since the metaethical error theory says that all positive moral claims are false, it makes no sense for error theorists to engage in normative ethics. After all, normative ethics tries to identify what is right or wrong (and why), but the error theory implies that nothing is ever right or wrong. One way for error theorists to push back is to argue for “concept preservationism,” that is, the view that even though our ordinary (...)
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  34. "Ought" and Error.Christine Tiefensee - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (2):96-114.
    The moral error theory generally does not receive good press in metaethics. This paper adds to the bad news. In contrast to other critics, though, I do not attack error theorists’ characteristic thesis that no moral assertion is ever true. Instead, I develop a new counter-argument which questions error theorists’ ability to defend their claim that moral utterances are meaningful assertions. More precisely: Moral error theorists lack a convincing account of the meaning of deontic moral assertions, or so I will (...)
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  35. Moral error theory, explanatory dispensability and the limits of guilt.Silvan Wittwer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2969-2983.
    Recently, companions in guilt strategies have garnered significant philosophical attention as a response to arguments for moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and that our moral beliefs are thus systematically mistaken. According to Cuneo (The normative web: an argument for moral realism, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007), Das (Philos Q 66:152–160, 2016; Australas J Philos 95(1):58–69, 2017), Rowland (J Ethics Soc Philos 7(1):1–24, 2012; Philos Q 66:161–171, 2016) and others, epistemic facts would be just as (...)
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  36. On the Dialectical Disadvantage of the Normative Error Theorist: A Reply to Clipsham.Xinkan Zhao - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (2):861-871.
    In response to the companions in guilt arguments, some error theorists have tried to defend a nihilist thesis that there truly are no normative epistemic reasons to believe, and further no normative reasons whatsoever, making them global normative error theorists. In his recent paper, Patrick Clipsham tries to adjudicate on this debate. Dubbing this nihilist response a “bullet-biting” one, he argues that sophisticated forms of this response are viable and immune from the frequently leveled charges. However, he further argues that (...)
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  37. Mackie Was Not an Error Theorist.Selim Berker - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):5-25.
  38. Error Theory, Unbelievability and the Normative Objection.Daniele Bruno - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (2).
    One of the most formidable challenges to the Error Theory is the Normative Objection, according to which the Error Theory ought to be rejected because of its deeply implausible first-order normative implications. Recently, Bart Streumer has offered a novel and powerful defence of the Error Theory against this objection. Streumer argues that the Error Theory’s plausibility deficit when viewed against the background of our normative beliefs does not show the theory’s falsity. Rather, it can be explained by the fact that (...)
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  39. Self-Defeating Beliefs and Misleading Reasons.Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):57-72.
    We have no reason to believe that reasons do not exist. Contra Bart Streumer’s recent proposal, this has nothing to do with our incapacity to believe this error theory. Rather, it is because if we know that if a proposition is true, we have no reason to believe it, then we have no reason to believe this proposition. From a different angle: if we know that we have at best misleading reasons to believe a proposition, then we have no reason (...)
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  40. Daoist Metaethics.Jason Dockstader - 2019 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (2):309-324.
    This paper seeks to show how classical Chinese Daoist philosophy (道家) contributes to contemporary metaethics. Daoism offers an early form of moral error theory and provides unique suggestions for what one can do with a false discourse like morality. Recent error theorists have disagreed about whether they should conserve moral discourse (moral conservationism), retain it only as a useful fiction (revolutionary moral fictionalism), substitute it with a discourse concerned with subjective normative attitudes (moral substitutionism), or abolish it altogether (assertive moral (...)
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  41. Nonassertive Moral Abolitionism.Jason Dockstader - 2019 - Metaphilosophy 50 (4):481-502.
    Proponents of moral abolitionism, like Richard Garner, qualify their view as an â assertiveâ version of the position. They counsel moral realists and anti-realists alike to accept moral error theory, abolish morality, and encourage others to abolish morality. In response, this paper argues that moral error theorists should abolish morality, but become quiet about such abolition. It offers a quietist or nonassertive version of moral abolitionism. It does so by first clarifying and addressing the arguments for and against assertive moral (...)
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  42. “Putting the linguistic method in its place”: Mackie’s distinction between conceptual and factual analysis.Tammo Lossau - 2019 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 22 (1):92-105.
    Early in his career and in critical engagement with ordinary language philosophy, John Mackie developed the roots of a methodology that would be fundamental to his thinking: Mackie argues that we need to clearly separate the conceptual analysis which determines the meaning of an ordinary term and the factual analysis which is concerned with the question what, if anything, our language corresponds to in the world. I discuss how Mackie came to develop this distinction and how central ideas of his (...)
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  43. Attributing error without taking a stand.Caleb Perl & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1453-1471.
    Moral error theory is the doctrine that our first-order moral commitments are pervaded by systematic error. It has been objected that this makes the error theory itself a position in first-order moral theory that should be judged by the standards of competing first-order moral theories :87–139, 1996) and Kramer. Kramer: “the objectivity of ethics is itself an ethical matter that rests primarily on ethical considerations. It is not something that can adequately be contested or confirmed through non-ethical reasoning” [2009, 1]). (...)
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  44. Précis of Unbelievable Errors.Bart Streumer - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (6):687-696.
    In Unbelievable Errors, I defend an error theory about all normative judgments, I argue that we cannot believe this theory, and I argue that our inability to believe this theory makes the theory more likely to be true. This précis gives a brief overview of my arguments for the error theory.
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  45. Response to Hattiangadi, Evers, and Tiefensee.Bart Streumer - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (6):743-754.
    I argue that Hattiangadi’s, Evers’ and Tiefensee’s objections to my arguments for the error theory in Unbelievable Errors fail.
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  46. Saving which differences? Creeping minimalism and disagreement.Christine Tiefensee - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1905-1921.
    Much thought has been devoted to how metaethical disagreement between moral realism and expressivism can be saved once minimalism starts creeping. Very little thought has been given to how creeping minimalism affects error-theories’ disagreement with their metaethical competitors. The reason for this omission, I suspect, is found in the belief that whilst locating distinctive moral realist and expressivist positions within a minimalist landscape poses a severe challenge, no such difficulties are encountered when differentiating error-theories from moral realism and expressivism. In (...)
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  47. What’s Wrong with Relaxing?Christine Tiefensee - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (6):725-742.
    In his new book Unbelievable Errors, Bart Streumer argues that there is no way around the result that all metaethical views other than the error theory either fail for the same reasons as metaphysical normative realism, or for the same reasons as expressivism. In this contribution, I seek to show that this is false: We can eschew this result by ‘relaxing’ about normative truths. Even if Streumer were right about the fate of metaphysical normative realism and expressivism, then, relaxed realists (...)
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  48. Mistaken morality? : an essay on moral error theory.Emma Beckman - 2018 - Dissertation, Umeå University
    This dissertation explores arguments and questions related to moral error theory – the idea that morality inevitably involves a fundamental and serious error such that moral judgments and statements never come out true. It is suggested that the truth of error theory remains a non-negligible possibility, and that we for this reason should take a version of moral fictionalism seriously. I begin by defining error theory as the claim that moral judgments are beliefs with moral propositions as content, moral utterances (...)
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  49. The tale of a moderate normative skeptic.Brendan Cline - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):141-161.
    While Richard Joyce’s moral skepticism might seem to be an extreme metaethical view, it is actually far more moderate than it might first appear. By articulating four challenges facing his approach to moral skepticism, I argue that Joyce’s moderation is, in fact, a theoretical liability. First, the fact that Joyce is not skeptical about normativity in general makes it possible to develop close approximations to morality, lending support to moderate moral revisionism over moral error theory. Second, Joyce relies on strong, (...)
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  50. Moral Skepticism: An Introduction and Overview.Diego E. Machuca - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism: New Essays. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-31.
    In this introductory chapter, I not only present the essays that make up this volume but also I offer an extensive critical overview of moral skepticism with the hope that it will turn out to be useful particularly to the uninitiated reader. I first provide a taxonomy of varieties of moral skepticism, then discuss the main arguments advanced in their favor, and finally summarize the ten essays here collected, which deal with one or more of those skeptical stances and arguments.
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