Moral Skepticism

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. added 2020-09-17
    El escepticismo ético de Sexto Empírico.Diego E. Machuca - 2006 - Dissertation, Universidad de Buenos Aires
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  2. added 2020-09-16
    Moral Error Theory, Written by Wouter Floris Kalf.Matthew Lutz - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-7.
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  3. added 2020-09-16
    Moral Peer Disagreement and the Limits of Higher-Order Evidence.Marco Tiozzo - forthcoming - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. Routledge.
    Abstract. This paper argues that the “Argument from Moral Peer Disagreement” fails to make a case for widespread moral skepticism. The main reason for this is that the argument rests on a too strong assumption about the normative significance of peer disagreement (and higher-order evidence more generally). In order to demonstrate this, I distinguish two competing ways in which one might explain higher-order defeat. According to what I call the “Objective Defeat Explanation” it is the mere possession of higher-order evidence (...)
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  4. added 2020-09-16
    Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences, Written by Thomas Pölzler. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-9.
  5. added 2020-09-16
    Debunking Arguments in Ethics, Written by Hanno Sauer.Erik J. Wielenberg - 2020 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10 (2):178-183.
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  6. added 2020-09-16
    Moral Skepticism: New Essays, Edited by Diego E. Machuca.Neil Sinclair - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (2):173-178.
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  7. added 2020-09-10
    Debunking Arguments From Insensitivity.Matthew Braddock - 2017 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 7 (2):91-113.
    Heightened awareness of the origins of our moral judgments pushes many in the direction of moral skepticism, in the direction of thinking we are unjustified in holding our moral judgments on a realist understanding of the moral truths. A classic debunking argument fleshes out this worry: the best explanation of our moral judgments does not appeal to their truth, so we are unjustified in holding our moral judgments. But it is unclear how to get from the explanatory premise to the (...)
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  8. added 2020-06-16
    Old Wine in New Bottles: Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Benacerraf-Field Challenge.Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):781-795.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to show that robust moral realism, the metaethical view that there are non-natural and mind-independent moral properties and facts that we can know about, is incompatible with evolutionary explanations of morality. One of the most prominent evolutionary debunking arguments is advanced by Sharon Street, who argues that if moral realism were true, then objective moral knowledge is unlikely because realist moral properties are evolutionary irrelevant and moral beliefs about those properties would not be selected for. However, (...)
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  9. added 2020-06-16
    From Isolation to Skepticism.Scott Hill - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):649-668.
    If moral properties lacked causal powers, would moral skepticism be true? I argue that it would. Along the way I respond to various arguments that it would not.
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  10. added 2020-04-17
    Justification and Explanation in Mathematics and Morality.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 10.
    In his influential book, The Nature of Morality, Gilbert Harman writes: “In explaining the observations that support a physical theory, scientists typically appeal to mathematical principles. On the other hand, one never seems to need to appeal in this way to moral principles.” What is the epistemological relevance of this contrast, if genuine? This chapter argues that ethicists and philosophers of mathematics have misunderstood it. They have confused what the chapter calls the justificatory challenge for realism about an area, D—the (...)
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  11. added 2020-03-13
    Can Literature Be Moral Philosophy? A Sceptical View on the Ethics of Literary Empathy.Ingrid Vendrell Ferran - 2011 - In Sebastian Hüsch (ed.), Philosophy and Literature and the Crisis of Metaphysics.
    One important aspect of Nussbaum´s thesis on the moral value of literature concerns the power of literature to enhance our ability to empathise with other minds. This aspect will be the focus of the current article. My aim is to reflect upon this question regarding the moral value of our empathy for fictional characters. The article is structured in two main parts. I will first examine the concept of “empathy” and distinguish between empathy for human beings and empathy for fictional (...)
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  12. added 2020-03-05
    Reasoning with the Exclusionary Other: Classical Scenes for a Postradical Horizon.Carlos Palacios - 2019 - Critical Inquiry 46 (1):97-117.
    Thanks to Michel Foucault, one might say it has become possible to conceive that the political relevance of humanity in modern thought does not have to do with its “philosophical essence” but rather with its “nonessence.” Yet this very idea surfaced earlier in Western thought, at the time of the revolutionary turn towards a politicized humanitarianism, and helped to shape some crucial political strategies making up modern liberal democracy. Its potential eluded even Foucault. I contend that tracing the contours of (...)
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  13. added 2020-02-11
    Moral Scepticism and Moral Knowledge.Douglas C. Long - 1984 - Noûs 18 (1):132-136.
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  14. added 2020-01-26
    A Dilemma for Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Uri D. Leibowitz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    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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  15. added 2019-12-08
    Big History, Value, and the Art of Continued Existence.Brendan Cline - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):901-930.
    There has lately been substantial interest in scrutinizing our evaluative attitudes in light of our evolutionary history. However, these discussions have been hampered by an insufficiently expansive vantage. Our history did not begin ex nihilo a few million years ago with the appearance of hominins, or apes, or primates—those are very recent chapters of a much larger story that spans billions of years. This paper situates the mechanisms underlying normative thought within this broader context. I argue that this historical perspective (...)
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  16. added 2019-11-04
    Error-Theory, Relaxation and Inferentialism.Christine Tiefensee - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 49-70.
    This contribution considers whether or not it is possible to devise a coherent form of external skepticism about the normative if we ‘relax’ about normative ontology by regarding claims about the existence of normative truths and properties themselves as normative. I answer this question in the positive: A coherent form of non-normative error-theories can be developed even against a relaxed background. However, this form no longer makes any reference to the alleged falsity of normative judgments, nor the non-existence of normative (...)
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  17. added 2019-11-03
    Evolutionary Debunking, Self-Defeat, and All the Evidence.Silvan Wittwer - 2020 - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    Recently, Tomas Bogardus (2016), Andreas Mogensen (2017) and – at least on one plausible reconstruction – Sharon Street (2005) have argued that evolutionary theory debunks our moral beliefs by providing higher-order evidence of error. In response, moral realists such as Katia Vavova (2014) have objected that such evolutionary debunking arguments are self-defeating. The literature lacks any discussion of whether this self-defeat objection can be handled. My overall aim is to argue that it cannot, thus filling that lacuna – and vindicating (...)
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  18. added 2019-11-01
    A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress.Nathan Cofnas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3171-3191.
    According to “debunking arguments,” our moral beliefs are explained by evolutionary and cultural processes that do not track objective, mind-independent moral truth. Therefore (the debunkers say) we ought to be skeptics about moral realism. Huemer counters that “moral progress”—the cross-cultural convergence on liberalism—cannot be explained by debunking arguments. According to him, the best explanation for this phenomenon is that people have come to recognize the objective correctness of liberalism. Although Huemer may be the first philosopher to make this explicit empirical (...)
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  19. added 2019-09-26
    Debunking Objective Consequentialism: The Challenge of Knowledge-Centric Anti-Luck Epistemology.Paul Silva Jr - forthcoming - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. Routledge.
    I explain why, from the perspective of knowledge-centric anti-luck epistemology, objective act consequentialist theories of ethics imply skepticism about the moral status of our prospective actions and also tend to be self-defeating, undermining the justification of consequentialist theories themselves. For according to knowledge-centric anti-luck epistemology there are modal anti-luck demands on both knowledge and justification, and it turns out that our beliefs about the moral status of our prospective actions are almost never able to satisfy these demands if objective act (...)
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  20. added 2019-09-07
    Review of R. Joyce, The Evolution of Morality (The MIT Press, 2006). [REVIEW]Diego E. Machuca - 2008 - Philosophy in Review 28 (5):343–346.
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  21. added 2019-08-23
    Might Moral Epistemologists Be Asking The Wrong Questions?Caleb Perl - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):556-585.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  22. added 2019-06-24
    Can Theists Avoid Epistemological Objections to Moral (and Normative) Realism?Justin Morton - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (3):291-312.
    Epistemological objections to moral realism allege that realism entails moral skepticism. Many philosophers have assumed that theistic moral realists can easily avoid such objections. In this article, I argue that things are not so easy: theists run the risk of violating an important constraint on replies to epistemological objections, according to which replies to such objections may not rely on substantive moral claims of a certain kind. Yet after presenting this challenge, I then argue that theists can meet it, successfully (...)
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  23. added 2019-06-06
    On the Necessity of Beauty.Linda Palmer - 2011 - Kant-Studien 102 (3):350-366.
    In the Critique of Judgment Kant argues that we may assume a certain ‘common inner sense’ on pain of skepticism. I present an interpretation of this argument, which holds that its skeptical threat involves the threat of a regress for judgment, that it argues for a principle underlying both empirical cognition and judgments of beauty, and that no ‘everything is beautiful problem’ results. This principle is essentially ‘epistemologically normative’ rather than moral, although in the end the moral raises its head. (...)
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  24. added 2019-06-06
    Metaphysics and Ethics: Levinas, Clarke, and Maritain.Thomas L. Gwozdz - 2010 - International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):489-500.
    For Emmanuel Levinas the foundation of the moral “ought” is an important question. He is skeptical, however, about using human reason or any sort of metaphysics to ground ethics. Instead he resorts to the human face as to what motivates a person to act ethically toward another person. Levinas argues that it is the nature of the human face to oblige anyone to act in an ethical way. In short, the human face commands one to be ethical. I will argue (...)
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  25. added 2019-06-06
    Sinnott-Armstrong’s Moral Skepticism: A Murdochian Response: Dialogue.Gerald Beaulieu - 2009 - Dialogue 48 (3):673-678.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has recently criticized moral intuitionism by bringing to light some compelling empirical evidence indicating that we are unreliable at forming moral judgments non-inferentially. The evidence shows that our non-inferentially arrived-at moral convictions are subject to framing effects; that is, they vary depending on how the situation judged is described. Thomas Nadelhoffer and Adam Feltz, following in Sinnott-Armstrong's footsteps, have appealed to research indicating that such judgments are also subject to actor-observer bias; that is, they vary depending on whether (...)
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  26. added 2019-06-06
    Shallow, Deeper, Deep: A Few Thoughts on a Small Piece of Walter Sinnott‐Armstrong's Moral Skepticisms.Jamie Dreier - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (3):197-206.
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  27. added 2019-06-06
    Reply to Russell Jacobs’ “World Hunger and Self-Sacrifice: Response on Behalf of the Skeptic”.Thomas Peard - 2007 - Southwest Philosophy Review 23 (1):215-219.
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  28. added 2019-06-06
    Virtue, Virtue Skepticism, and the Milgram Studies.Deborah C. Zeller - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):50-59.
    Virtue, the centerpiece of ancient ethics, has come under attack by virtue skeptics impressed by results of psychology experiments including Milgram’s obedience studies. The virtue skeptic argues that experimental findings suggest that character structures are so fragile vis-à-vis situational factors as to be explanatorily superfluous: virtues and robust character traits are a myth, and should be replaced by situation-specific “narrow dispositions” or “local traits”. This paper argues that the virtue skeptics’ sweeping claims are ill-founded. First, blending Aristotelian and contemporary insights (...)
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  29. added 2019-06-06
    In Defence of Sceptical Theism: A Reply to Almeida and Oppy.Michael Rea & Michael Bergmann - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):241.
    Some evidential arguments from evil rely on an inference of the following sort: ‘If, after thinking hard, we can't think of any God-justifying reason for permitting some horrific evil then it is likely that there is no such reason’. Sceptical theists, us included, say that this inference is not a good one and that evidential arguments from evil that depend on it are, as a result, unsound. Michael Almeida and Graham Oppy have argued that Michael Bergmann's way of developing the (...)
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  30. added 2019-06-06
    Moral Skepticism and Moral Naturalism in Hume’s Treatise.Nicholas L. Sturgeon - 2001 - Hume Studies 27 (1):3-83.
    I believe that David Hume’s well-known remarks on is and ought in his Treatise of Human Nature have been widely misunderstood, and that in consequence so has their relation to his apparent ethical naturalism and to his skepticism about the role of reason in morality. My aim in this paper is to display their connection with these larger issues in Hume’s work by placing them in a more illuminating light. Readers may wonder whether there is anything left to say about (...)
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  31. added 2019-06-06
    Between Universalism and Skepticism: Ethics as Social Artifact. [REVIEW]Sarah Stroud - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):732-734.
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  32. added 2019-06-06
    Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity.Judith Thomson - 1996 - Wiley.
    Do moral questions have objective answers? In this great debate, Gilbert Harman explains and argues for relativism, emotivism, and moral scepticism.
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  33. added 2019-06-06
    Slightly Beyond Scepticism: Social Science and the Search for Morality. [REVIEW]John Kultgen - 1991 - International Studies in Philosophy 23 (1):111-112.
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  34. added 2019-06-06
    VII—Scepticism and Autonomy.Christopher Hookway - 1990 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 90 (1):103-118.
  35. added 2019-06-06
    The Norms of Nature: Studies in Hellenistic Ethics.Malcolm Schofield & Gisela Striker (eds.) - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
    Can moral philosophy alter our moral beliefs or our emotions? Does moral scepticism mean making up our own values, or does it leave us without moral commitments at all? Is it possible to find a basis for ethics in human nature? These are some of the main questions explored in this volume, which is devoted to the ethics of the Hellenistic schools of philosophy. Some of the leading scholars in the field have here taken a look at the bases of (...)
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  36. added 2019-06-06
    TRAWSON, P. F.: "Scepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties". [REVIEW]Jane Heal - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37:523.
  37. added 2019-06-06
    Moral Scepticism and Moral Knowledge. [REVIEW]R. B. F. - 1982 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (3):589-590.
    Renford Bambrough has written a provocative little book that attempts to defend "objectivity" in morals from attacks by critics whom he variously lables as "sceptics," subjectivists," and "relativists." He maintains that these philosophers have presented a misrepresentation--a caricature--of the nature of morality. They have been right in emphasizing a central role for feelings and emotions in morals, but wrong in concluding that this robs morality of objectivity.
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  38. added 2019-06-06
    Scepticism and Moral Principles: Modern Ethics in Review. [REVIEW]Frank M. Oppenheim - 1975 - New Scholasticism 49 (3):384-386.
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  39. added 2019-06-05
    I—Miranda Fricker: The Relativism of Blame and Williams's Relativism of Distance.Miranda Fricker - 2010 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 84 (1):151-177.
    Bernard Williams is a sceptic about the objectivity of moral value, embracing instead a qualified moral relativism—the ‘relativism of distance’. His attitude to blame too is in part sceptical. I will argue that the relativism of distance is unconvincing, even incoherent; but also that it is detachable from the rest of Williams's moral philosophy. I will then go on to propose an entirely localized thesis I call the relativism of blame, which says that when an agent's moral shortcomings by our (...)
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  40. added 2019-06-05
    Superson, Anita M. The Moral Skeptic . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 . Pp. 250. $24.95 (Paper).Neera K. Badhwar - 2010 - Ethics 120 (3):635-639.
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  41. added 2019-06-05
    Book ReviewsWalter Sinnott‐Armstrong,. Moral Skepticisms.New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Pp. 271. $49.95.Brad Majors - 2007 - Ethics 117 (2):383-387.
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  42. added 2019-04-29
    "Moral Skepticism: New Essays" Ed. Diego E. Machuca (Routledge 2018). [REVIEW]Neil Sinclair - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (2):1-7.
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  43. added 2019-04-29
    Disagreement, Democracy, and the Goals of Science: Is a Normative Philosophy of Science Possible, If Ethical Inquiry Is Not?Arnon Keren - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (4):525-544.
    W.V.Quine and Philip Kitcher have both developed naturalistic approaches to the philosophy of science which are partially based on a skeptical view about the possibility of rational inquiry into certain questions of value. Nonetheless, both Quine and Kitcher do not wish to give up on the normative dimension of the philosophy of science. I argue that Kitcher's recent argument against the specification of the goal of science in terms of truth raises a problem for Quine's account of the normative dimensions (...)
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  44. added 2019-03-10
    Selective Debunking Arguments, Folk Psychology, and Empirical Psychology.Daniel Kelly - 2014 - In Hagop Sarkissian & Jennifer Cole Wright (eds.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 130-147.
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  45. added 2019-02-13
    Naturalism and the Error Theory.Frank Jackson - forthcoming - Brill.
    _ Source: _Page Count 12 Bart Streumer makes an interesting case for an error theory in ethics—and for an error theory for normativity more generally, but I will focus on the more restricted target. I offer a reply on behalf of naturalists in ethics. My case for resistance will involve identifying a three-fold ambiguity in his use of the term ‘guarantee’. I conclude with some observations about the implications of theories of reference for moral/ethical terms for the debate.
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  46. added 2019-02-13
    Naturalism and the Error Theory.Frank Jackson - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism.
    _ Source: _Page Count 12 Bart Streumer makes an interesting case for an error theory in ethics—and for an error theory for normativity more generally, but I will focus on the more restricted target. I offer a reply on behalf of naturalists in ethics. My case for resistance will involve identifying a three-fold ambiguity in his use of the term ‘guarantee’. I conclude with some observations about the implications of theories of reference for moral/ethical terms for the debate.
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  47. added 2019-02-13
    Willing Belief.Mark Schroeder - forthcoming - Brill.
    _ Source: _Page Count 22 In _Unbelievable Errors_, Bart Streumer offers resourceful arguments against each of non-reductive realism, reductive realism, and non-cognitivism, in order to motivate his version of the normative error theory, according to which normative predicates ascribe properties that do not exist. In this contribution, I argue that none of the steps of this master argument succeed, and that Streumer’s arguments leave puzzles about what it means to ascribe a property at all.
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  48. added 2019-02-13
    Necessarily Coextensive Predicates and Reduction.Philip Stratton-Lake - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (4):282-299.
    _ Source: _Page Count 18 Bart Streumer argues that all normative properties are descriptive properties. His first argument is based on the principle that necessarily coextensive predicates ascribe the same property, and the claim that there is a descriptive predicate that is necessarily coextensive with normative predicates. From this Streumer concludes that normative properties are identical with descriptive properties. I argue that, even if we accept, this conclusion does not follow. Normative properties could only be descriptive properties if there is (...)
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  49. added 2019-02-13
    Necessarily Coextensive Predicates and Reduction.Philip Stratton-Lake - 2018 - Brill.
    _ Source: _Page Count 18 Bart Streumer argues that all normative properties are descriptive properties. His first argument is based on the principle that necessarily coextensive predicates ascribe the same property, and the claim that there is a descriptive predicate that is necessarily coextensive with normative predicates. From this Streumer concludes that normative properties are identical with descriptive properties. I argue that, even if we accept, this conclusion does not follow. Normative properties could only be descriptive properties if there is (...)
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  50. added 2019-01-29
    The Self-Effacement Gambit.Jack Woods - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):113-139.
    Philosophical arguments usually are and nearly always should be abductive. Across many areas, philosophers are starting to recognize that often the best we can do in theorizing some phenomena is put forward our best overall account of it, warts and all. This is especially true in esoteric areas like logic, aesthetics, mathematics, and morality where the data to be explained is often based in our stubborn intuitions. -/- While this methodological shift is welcome, it's not without problems. Abductive arguments involve (...)
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