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  1. Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence.Jonas Olson - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
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  • The Moral Requirement in Theistic and Secular Ethics.Patrick Loobuyck - 2010 - Heythrop Journal 51 (2):192-207.
    One of the central tasks of meta-ethical inquiry is to accommodate the common-sense assumptions deeply embedded in our moral discourse. A comparison of the potential of secular and theistic ethics shows that, in the end, theists have a greater facility in achieving this accommodation task; it is easier to appreciate the action-guiding authority and binding nature of morality in a theistic rather than in a secular context. Theistic ethics has a further advantage in being able to accommodate not only this (...)
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  • Fictionalism.Matti Eklund - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • A Defence of the Evolutionary Debunking Argument.Man Him Ip - 2021 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    In this thesis, I will explore the epistemological evolutionary debunking arguments in meta-ethics. I will defend these arguments by accomplishing two tasks: I will offer the best way to understand the EDA and I will also respond to two strongest objections to the EDA. Firstly, in Part I of this thesis, I will offer my account of how the EDA should be best formulated. I will start from how evolution has significantly influenced our moral beliefs. I will then explain why, (...)
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  • Parental Love and Procreation.Sam Shpall - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    The main goal of this paper is to explore the forcefulness of the adoption challenge to procreative parenting. After framing the challenge, I consider two of the most developed attempts to respond to it, due to Luara Ferracioli and Elizabeth Brake. I argue that neither strategy is a promising way to vindicate the permissibility of procreative parenting. I then present several reasons to value procreative parenting that are underappreciated in the recent literature. Though these considerations deserve more philosophical attention, I’m (...)
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  • How to Be a Child, and Bid Lions and Dragons Farewell: The Consequences of Moral Error Theory.David James Hunt - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    Moral error theorists argue that moral thought and discourse are systematically in error, and that nothing is, or can ever be, morally permissible, required or forbidden. I begin by discussing how error theorists arrive at this conclusion. I then argue that if we accept a moral error theory, we cannot escape a pressing problem – what should we do next, metaethically speaking? I call this problem the ‘what now?’ problem, or WNP for short. I discuss the attempts others have made (...)
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  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Mental States.Zoe Drayson - forthcoming - In Tamas Demeter, T. Parent & Adam Toon (eds.), Mental Fictionalism: Philosophical Explorations.
    Fictionalists propose that some apparently fact-stating discourses do not aim to convey factual information about the world, but rather allow us to engage in a fiction or pretense without incurring ontological commitments. Some philosophers have suggested that using mathematical, modal, or moral discourse, for example, need not commit us to the existence of mathematical objects, possible worlds, or moral facts. The mental fictionalist applies this reasoning to our mental discourse, suggesting that we can use ‘belief’ and ‘desire’ talk without committing (...)
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  • Love and the Moral Error Theory: Is Love a Mistake?Simon Keller - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):709-721.
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  • Fictionalism in Metaphysics.Frederick Kroon - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):786-803.
    This is a survey of contemporary work on ‘fictionalism in metaphysics’, a term that is taken to signify both the place of fictionalism as a distinctive anti‐realist metaphysics in which usefulness rather than truth is the norm of acceptance, and the fact that philosophers have given fictionalist treatments of a range of specifically metaphysical notions.
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  • Weaseling and the Content of Science.David Liggins - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):997-1005.
    I defend Joseph Melia’s nominalist account of mathematics from an objection raised by Mark Colyvan.
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  • 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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  • The Error in the Error Theory.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
    Moral error theory of the kind defended by J. L. Mackie and Richard Joyce is premised on two claims: (1) that moral judgements essentially presuppose that moral value has absolute authority, and (2) that this presupposition is false, because nothing has absolute authority. This paper accepts (2) but rejects (1). It is argued first that (1) is not the best explanation of the evidence from moral practice, and second that even if it were, the error theory would still be mistaken, (...)
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  • From Mathematical Fictionalism to Truth‐Theoretic Fictionalism.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):93-118.
    We argue that if Stephen Yablo (2005) is right that philosophers of mathematics ought to endorse a fictionalist view of number-talk, then there is a compelling reason for deflationists about truth to endorse a fictionalist view of truth-talk. More specifically, our claim will be that, for deflationists about truth, Yablo’s argument for mathematical fictionalism can be employed and mounted as an argument for truth-theoretic fictionalism.
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  • Revolutionary Expressivism.Sebastian Köhler & Michael Ridge - 2013 - Ratio 26 (4):428-449.
    While the meta-ethical error theory has been of philosophical interest for some time now, only recently a debate has emerged about the question what is to be done if the error theory turns out to be true. This paper argues for a novel answer to this question, namely revolutionary expressivism: if the error theory is true, we should become expressivists. Additionally, the paper explores certain important but largely ignored methodological issues that arise for reforming definitions generally and with a vengeance (...)
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  • Ethics Without Errors.James Lenman - 2013 - Ratio 26 (4):391-409.
    I argue against the claim that we should adopt a moral error theory. The intelligibility of our moral practice need offer no questionable metaphysical hostages to fortune. The two most credible policy recommendations that might follow from moral error theory, abolitionism and prescriptive fictionalism, are not very credible.
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  • The Question of Moral Ontology.Daniel Nolan - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):201-221.
    Our ordinary moral practices not only suppose that some people ought to perform some actions, and that some outcomes are morally better or worse than others, but also that there are rights, duties, goodness, and other apparently abstract moral entities. What should we make of these entities, and the talk of these entities? It is not straighforward to account for these entities in other terms. On the other hand, this paper will argue that talk of such entities is not easily (...)
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  • Fictionalism About Neural Representations.Mark Sprevak - 2013 - The Monist 96 (4):539-560.
    This paper explores a novel form of Mental Fictionalism: Fictionalism about talk of neural representations in cognitive science. This type of Fictionalism promises to (i) avoid the hard problem of naturalising representations, without (ii) incurring the high costs of eliminating useful representation talk. In this paper, I motivate and articulate this form of Fictionalism, and show that, despite its apparent advantages, it faces two serious objections. These objections are: (1) Fictionalism about talk of neural representations ultimately does not avoid the (...)
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  • Hume on Justice.Rosalind Hursthouse - 2010 - In Charles R. Pigden (ed.), Hume on Motivation and Virtue. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 264.
  • Hermeneutic Moral Fictionalism as an Anti-Realist Strategy.Stacie Friend - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (1):14-22.
  • Normative Judgement.Scott Sturgeon - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):569–587.
  • A Defense of Descriptive Moral Content.Jeff Wisdom - 2009 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):285-300.
    Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have recently provided an updated presentation and defense of a metaethical view that they call cognitivist expressivism. Expressivists claim that moral judgments express propositional attitudes that do not represent or describe the external world. Horgan and Timmons agree with this claim, but they also deny the traditional expressivist claim that moral judgments do not express beliefs. On their view, moral judgments are genuine, truth-apt beliefs, thus making their form of expressivism a cognitivist one. In this (...)
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  • 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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  • Propositional Clothing and Belief.Neil Sinclair - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):342-362.
    Moral discourse is propositionally clothed, that is, it exhibits those features – such as the ability of its sentences to intelligibly embed in conditionals and other unasserted contexts – that have been taken by some philosophers to be constitutive of discourses that express propositions. If there is nothing more to a mental state being a belief than it being characteristically expressed by sentences that are propositionally clothed then the version of expressivism which accepts that moral discourse is propositionally clothed (‘quasi-realism’) (...)
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  • The Individual Variability Problem.Dimitria Electra Gatzia - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (3):533-554.
    Studies show that there are widespread intrasubjective and intersubjective color variations among normal perceivers. These variations have serious ramifications in the debate about the nature and ontology of color. It is typical to think of the debate about color as a dispute between objectivists and subjectivists. Objectivists hold that colors are perceiver-independent physical properties of objects while subjectivists hold that they are either projections onto external objects or dispositions objects have to look colored. I argue that individual color variations present (...)
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  • Fictional Colors.Dimitria Electra Gatzia - 2007 - Sorites (21).
    In this paper, I propose a fictionalist approach to the problem of color. On my view, which I call prescriptive color fictionalism, we can continue to employ our color discourse as we have thus far even if it turns out that there are no colored objects. My proposal is a species of error theory. As such, it does not describe our current practices. It is rather proposed as a prescription to a problem, namely that the color theory we accept (according (...)
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  • Utilitarianism for the Error Theorist.François Jaquet - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (1):39-55.
    The moral error theory has become increasingly popular in recent decades. So much so indeed that a new issue emerged, the so-called “now-what problem”: if all our moral beliefs are false, then what should we do with them? So far, philosophers who are interested in this problem have focused their attention on the mode of the attitudes we should have with respect to moral propositions. Some have argued that we should keep holding proper moral beliefs; others that we should replace (...)
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  • Fictionalism and Meinongianism.Nathaniel Gan - 2021 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 36 (1):49-62.
    Fictionalism about a kind of disputed object is often motivated by the fact that the view interprets discourse about those objects literally without an ontological commitment to them. This paper argues that this motivation is inadequate because some viable alternatives to fictionalism have similar attractions. Meinongianism—the view that there are true statements about non-existent objects—is one such view. Meinongianism bears significant similarity to fictionalism, so intuitive doubts about its viability are difficult to sustain for fictionalists. Moreover, Meinongianism avoids some of (...)
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  • Fictionalism.Fiora Salis - 2015 - Online Companion to Problems in Analytic Philosophy.
    In this entry I will offer a survey of the contemporary debate on fic- tionalism, which is a distinctive anti-realist view about certain regions of discourse that are valued for their usefulness rather than their truth.
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  • Can Fictionalists Have Faith?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (2):215-232.
    According to non-doxastic theories of propositional faith, belief that p is not necessary for faith that p. Rather, propositional faith merely requires a ‘positive cognitive attitude’. This broad condition, however, can be satisfied by several pragmatic approaches to a domain, including fictionalism. This paper shows precisely how fictionalists can have faith given non-doxastic theory, and explains why this is problematic. It then explores one means of separating the two theories, in virtue of the fact that the truth of the propositions (...)
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  • A Menagerie of Duties? Normative Judgments Are Not Beliefs About Non-Natural Properties.Matthew Bedke - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3):189-201.
    According to cognitive non-naturalism, normative judgments are standard beliefs that purport to be about non-natural properties. An influential plurality of normative theorists, including non-naturalist realists, error theorists and skeptics, share this view. But it is mistaken. For it predicts an epistemic profile for normative judgments that they do not have. In particular, they are not disposed to extinguish in light of accepted evidence that the any non-natural properties are absent, and they are not disposed to come into existence in light (...)
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  • Philosophy, Drama and Literature.Rick Benitez - 2010 - In Graham Oppy & Steve Gardner (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia & New Zealand. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Press. pp. 371-372.
    Philosophy and Literature is an internationally renowned refereed journal founded by Denis Dutton at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. It is now published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Since its inception in 1976, Philosophy and Literature has been concerned with the relation between literary and philosophical studies, publishing articles on the philosophical interpretation of literature as well as the literary treatment of philosophy. Philosophy and Literature has sometimes been regarded as iconoclastic, in the sense that it repudiates academic pretensions, (...)
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  • Inference and Action: Relating Beliefs to the World.Javier Gonzalez De Prado Salas - unknown
    The goal of this dissertation is to offer a practice-based account of intentionality. My aim is to examine what sort of practices agents have to engage in so as to count as talking and thinking about the way the world is – that is, what sort of practices count as representational. Representational practices answer to the way the world is: what is correct within such practices depends on the way things are, rather than on the attitudes of agents. An account (...)
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  • Nihilism and the Epistemic Profile of Moral Judgment.Jonas Olson - 2019 - In Aaron Zimmerman, Karen Jones & Mark Timmons (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Moral Epistemology.
    Moral nihilism is the view that there are no moral facts or moral truths. It is the ontological component of moral error theory, which is the best-known and most comprehensive metaethical theory that involves moral nihilism. My main aim is to discuss some consequences of endorsing moral error theory or believing to some degree that moral error theory is true. In §2, I consider the implications for ordinary moral thought and discourse and the epistemological consequences for moral theorizing. In §3, (...)
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  • The Explanationist Argument for Moral Realism.Neil Sinclair - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):1-24.
    In this paper I argue that the explanationist argument in favour of moral realism fails. According to this argument, the ability of putative moral properties to feature in good explanations provides strong evidence for, or entails, the metaphysical claims of moral realism. Some have rejected this argument by denying that moral explanations are ever good explanations. My criticism is different. I argue that even if we accept that moral explanations are (sometimes) good explanations the metaphysical claims of realism do not (...)
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  • Why Moral Error Theorists Should Become Revisionary Moral Expressivists.Toby Svoboda - 2015 - Journal of Moral Philosophy:1-25.
    Moral error theorists hold that morality is deeply mistaken, thus raising the question of whether and how moral judgments and utterances should continue to be employed. Proposals include simply abolishing morality, adopting some revisionary fictionalist stance toward morality, and conserving moral judgments and utterances unchanged. I defend a fourth proposal, namely revisionary moral expressivism, which recommends replacing cognitivist moral judgments and utterances with non-cognitivist ones. Given that non-cognitivist attitudes are not truth apt, revisionary expressivism does not involve moral error. Moreover, (...)
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  • Free Thinking for Expressivists.Neil Sinclair - 2008 - Philosophical Papers 37 (2):263-287.
    This paper elaborates and defends an expressivist account of the claims of mind-independence embedded in ordinary moral thought. In response to objections from Zangwill and Jenkins it is argued that the expressivist 'internal reading' of such claims is compatible with their conceptual status and that the only 'external reading' available doesn't commit expressivisists to any sort of subjectivism. In the process a 'commitment-theoretic' account of the semantics of conditionals and negations is defended.
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  • Moral Error Theory and the Belief Problem.Jussi Suikkanen - 2013 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 8. Oxford University Press. pp. 168-194.
    Moral error theories claim that (i) moral utterances express moral beliefs, that (ii) moral beliefs ascribe moral properties, and that (iii) moral properties are not instantiated. Thus, according to these views, there seems to be conclusive evidence against the truth of our ordinary moral beliefs. Furthermore, many error theorists claim that, even if we accepted moral error theory, we could still in principle keep our first-order moral beliefs. This chapter argues that this last claim makes many popular versions of the (...)
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  • How to Be an Error Theorist About Morality.Simon Robertson - 2008 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):107-125.
    This paper clarifies how to be an error theorist about morality. It takes as its starting point John Mackie’s error theory of the categoricity of moral obligation, defending Mackie against objections from both naturalist moral realists and minimalists about moral discourse. However, drawing upon minimalist insights, it argues that Mackie’s focus on the ontological status of moral values is misplaced, and that the underlying dispute between error theorist and moralist is better conducted at the level of practical reason.
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  • Saving Mental Fictionalism From Cognitive Collapse.Meg Wallace - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (2):405-424.
    Mental fictionalism maintains that: folk psychology is a false theory, but we should nonetheless keep using it, because it is useful, convenient, or otherwise beneficial to do so. We should treat folk psychology as a useful fiction—false, but valuable. Yet some argue that mental fictionalism is incoherent: if a mental fictionalist rejects folk psychology then she cannot appeal to fictions in an effort to keep folk psychological discourse around, because fictions presuppose the legitimacy of folk psychology. Call this the Argument (...)
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  • Getting Real About Moral Fictionalism1.Jonas Olson - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:181.
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  • Composition as Identity.Meg Wallace - 2009 - Dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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  • Error Theory and Fictionalism.Nadeem Hussain - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge.
    This paper surveys contemporary accounts of error theory and fictionalism. It introduces these categories to those new to metaethics by beginning with moral nihilism, the view that nothing really is right or wrong. One main motivation is that the scientific worldview seems to have no place for rightness or wrongness. Within contemporary metaethics there is a family of theories that makes similar claims. These are the theories that are usually classified as forms of error theory or fictionalism though there are (...)
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  • Moral Skepticism, Fictionalism, and Insulation.Diego E. Machuca - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism: New Essays. New York: Routledge. pp. 213-234.
    It has been claimed that a key difference between ancient and contemporary skepticism is that, unlike the ancient skeptics, contemporary skeptics consider ordinary beliefs to be insulated from skeptical doubt. In the case of metaethics, this issue is related to the following question: what attitude towards ordinary moral thought and discourse should one adopt if one is a moral skeptic? Whereas moral abolitionists claim that one should do away with ordinary moral thought and discourse altogether, moral fictionalists maintain that, given (...)
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  • Can Fictionalists Have Faith? It All Depends.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2019 - Religious Studies 55:1-22.
    Can fictionalists have faith? It all depends on how we disambiguate ‘fictionalists’ and on what faith is. I consider the matter in light of my own theory. After clarifying its central terms, I distinguish two fictionalists – atheistic and agnostic – and I argue that, even though no atheistic fictionalist can have faith on my theory, agnostic fictionalists arguably can. After rejecting Finlay Malcolm's reasons for thinking this is a problem, I use his paradigmatic agnostic fictionalist as a foil to (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Legal Coercion, Respect & Reason-Responsive Agency.Ambrose Y. K. Lee - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):847-859.
    Legal coercion seems morally problematic because it is susceptible to the Hegelian objection that it fails to respect individuals in a way that is ‘due to them as men’. But in what sense does legal coercion fail to do so? And what are the grounds for this requirement to respect? This paper is an attempt to answer these questions. It argues that legal coercion fails to respect individuals as reason-responsive agents; and individuals ought to be respected as such in virtue (...)
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  • The Ramifications of Error Theories About the Deontic.Vuko Andrić - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (4):429-445.
    Error theories about practical deontic judgements claim that no substantive practical deontic judgement is true. Practical deontic judgements are practical in the sense that they concern actions, and they are deontic in the sense that they are about reasons, rightness, wrongness, and obligations. This paper assumes the truth of an error theory about practical deontic judgements in order to examine its ramifications. I defend three contentions. The first is that, if so-called fitting-attitude analyses of value fail, the truth of some (...)
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  • The 'Now What' Problem for Error Theory.Matt Lutz - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):351-371.
    Error theorists hold that, although our first-order moral thought and discourse commits us to the existence of moral truths, there are no such truths. Holding this position in metaethics puts the error theorist in an uncomfortable position regarding first-order morality. When it comes to our pre-theoretic moral commitments, what should the error theorist think? What should she say? What should she do? I call this the ‘Now What’ Problem for error theory. This paper suggests a framework for evaluating different approaches (...)
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  • Abolishing Morality.Richard Garner - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):499-513.
    Moral anti-realism comes in two forms – noncognitivism and the error theory. The noncognitivist says that when we make moral judgments we aren’t even trying to state moral facts. The error theorist says that when we make moral judgments we are making statements about what is objectively good, bad, right, or wrong but, since there are no moral facts, our moral judgments are uniformly false. This development of moral anti-realism was first seriously defended by John Mackie. In this paper I (...)
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