Response to Nichols and Katz

To reject a false theory on the basis of an unsound argument is, in my opinion, as much an intellectual sin as to embrace a false theory. Thus, although I am no fan of any particular form of moral rationalism—and, indeed, on occasion have gone out of my way to criticize it—when rationalism is assailed for faulty reasons I find myself in the curious position of leaping to its defense (which goes to show that in philosophy it isn’t the case that one’s enemy’s enemy is one’s friend). This puts me at something of a dialectical disadvantage, since my “defense” of moral rationalism has strict limits: I will defend it against specific kinds of criticism, but I have no interest in defending it simpliciter. It is important to bear in mind that what is in dispute between Shaun Nichols and myself is not the truth or falsity of moral rationalism, but rather what kind of evidence bears on the matter.
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