Moral Realism: A Defense

Dissertation, Cornell University (1985)

David Brink
University of California, San Diego
I defend moral realism against various metaphysical and epistemological objections and develop a utilitarian specification of moral realism. ;Chapter 1. Moral realism is the claim that there are moral facts whose existence and nature are independent of our evidence for them. Moral realism derives appeal from the plausibility of realism about other disciplines and from the way we deliberate in moral matters. ;Chapter 2. Moral realism is not undermined by general epistemological objections. Realists can and should degend a coherentist epistemology. ;Chapter 3. Moral realism in not undermined by special epistemological objections. Neither the role of considered moral beliefs nor that of theories of the person in the justification of moral theories undermines moral realism. ;Chapter 4. Moral realism is not undermined by the existence of an is/ought gap. Even if there is an is/ought gap, consideration of analogous is/is gaps demonstrates that there can be moral facts and properties and that there can be evidential relations between moral and nonmoral beliefs. ;Chapter 5. Moral realism is neither metaphysically nor epistemologically queer. Moral facts and properties can be constituted by and so supervene upon facts and properties in other disciplines . Moral facts fulfill whatever explanatory obligation an a posteriori defense of moral realism imposes, and genuine moral disputes are resolvable in principle upon the basis of coherentist reasoning. ;Chapter 6. Although the defense of moral realism in chapters 1 through 5 requires no one moral theory, I develop a kind of utilitarian moral theory. This illustrates the kind of specific metaphysical and epistemological commitments which substatntive moral theories bring. Moreover, this utilitarian theory is plausible. The standard objections to utilitarianism fail to undermine this version of utilitarianism. This version of utilitarianism may not be uniquely reasonable, but it provides a plausible program for a realist view of ethics
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,232
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Gastronomic Realism - A Cautionary Tale.Don Loeb - 2003 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 23 (1):30-49.
Realism and Moral Epistemology.Geoffrey Donald Sayre-Mccord - 1986 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Moral Realism: Discovering Right and Wrong.Alice Perrin - 1988 - Dissertation, University of Miami
Making Sense of Explanatory Objections to Moral Realism.Elizabeth Tropman - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):37-50.
A Critique of Assimilative Moral Realism.Ken Yasenchuk - 1995 - Dissertation, Mcmaster University (Canada)
Moral Conversion Without Moral Realism.Bruce N. Waller - 1992 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):129-137.
Robust Moral Realism: An Excellent Religion.David Killoren - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (3):223-237.
Facts, Values and Moral Realism.David Schejbal - 1991 - Dissertation, The University of Connecticut
Outline for an Argument for Moral Realism.Lars Bergström - 1981 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 12 (1):215-225.
Morality, Meaning and Realism.Douglas Joel Butler - 1988 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh


Added to PP index

Total views
3 ( #1,246,600 of 2,330,036 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #583,587 of 2,330,036 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes