Morality, Meaning and Realism

Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh (1988)

Abstract
Moral realism is developed as the view that moral language is mind-independent, specifically that moral sentences relate to something other than our socially constructed conventions, in such a way that: each moral sentence is rendered determinately true or false simpliciter; some affirmative moral sentences are true; and we are possibly unable in principle to determine the truth or the falsity of moral sentences. Three further results are defended. Moral realism is shown to be compatible with moral pluralism. Moral realism need not be formulated in terms of truth; it can be extended to allow for non-cognitivism about moral language. A form of moral non-realism is shown to imply a version of the claim that "ought" implies "can."
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