Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy

Noûs 48 (2):238-255 (2014)
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There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It is hard to see how one might argue, on epistemological grounds, for moral antirealism while maintaining commitment to mathematical realism. But it may be possible to do the opposite.


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Justin Clarke-Doane
Columbia University

References found in this work

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.

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