Analysis 69 (4):746-760 (2009)

Introduction: characterizing ethical realismIt is useful to begin a survey of recent work on ethical realism with a look at current disputes over what makes a theory of ethics count as ‘realist’ in the first place. Nearly all characterizations of ethical realism include some version of the following two core claims: Ethical discourse is assertoric and descriptive: ethical claims purport to state ethical facts by attributing ethical properties to people, actions, institutions, etc., and are thus true or false depending on whether their descriptions of things are accurate or not . 1 At least some ethical claims, when literally construed, are true in the above sense.Sayre-McCord maintains that these two conditions are necessary and sufficient to characterize ethical realism; others argue that further conditions must be added to yield ethical realism, or at least ‘paradigmatic’ or ‘robust’ ethical realism. Before turning to that, however, it is worth noting that some have recently denied that the above two conditions are even necessary for ethical realism. In probing new work on metaethical taxonomy, Miller argues that the core of ethical realism is simply the metaphysical commitment to objective ethical properties and facts, which is strictly independent of the semantic claims above. If one holds that there are objective facts about the wrongness of slavery, for example, then one ought to count as an ethical realist regardless of whatever views one might hold about the semantics of the contingent forms of discourse that have evolved among language users. Even if our ethical discourse turns out primarily to express conative states ), or all moral claims turn out to be false because …
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DOI 10.1093/analys/anp106
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References found in this work BETA

The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
The Moral Problem.Michael Smith (ed.) - 1994 - Wiley.

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Pragmatic Antirealism: A New Antirealist Strategy.Michael Scott & Philip Brown - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (3):349-366.

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