Abstract
Ethical disputes arise over differences in the content of the ethical beliefs people hold on either side of an issue. One person may believe that it is wrong to have an abortion for financial reasons, whereas another may believe it to be permissible. But, the magnitude and difficulty of such disputes may also depend on other properties of the ethical beliefs in question—in particular, how objective they are perceived to be. As a psychological property of moral belief, objectivity is relatively unexplored, and we argue that it merits more attention. We review recent psychological evidence which demonstrates that individuals differ in the extent to which they perceive ethical beliefs to be objective, that some ethical beliefs are perceived to be more objective than others, and that both these sources of variance are somewhat systematic. This evidence also shows that differences in perceptions of objectivity underpin quite different psychological reactions to ethical disagreement. Apart from reviewing this evidence, our aim in this paper is to draw attention to unanswered psychological questions about moral objectivity, and to discuss the relevance of moral objectivity to two issues of public policy.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Science   Developmental Psychology   Neuropsychology   Epistemology   Cognitive Psychology   Philosophy of Mind
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-009-0013-4
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References found in this work BETA

Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Harvard University Press.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Language, Truth and Logic.A. J. Ayer - 1936 - London: V. Gollancz.

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Citations of this work BETA

Experimental Moral Philosophy.Mark Alfano, Don Loeb & Alex Plakias - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-32.
Revisiting Folk Moral Realism.Thomas Pölzler - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):455-476.
Aspects of Folk Morality: Objectivism and Relativism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2016 - In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. London, UK: pp. 212-224.

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