Answering moral skepticism

New York, NY: Oxford University Press (2023)
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Abstract

This book examines a variety of arguments that might be thought to support skepticism about the existence of morality, and it explains how these arguments can be answered by those who believe in objective moral truths. The focus throughout is on discussing questions that frequently trouble thoughtful and reflective individuals, including questions like the following: Does the prevalence of moral disagreement make it reasonable to conclude that there aren't really any moral facts at all? Is morality simply relative to particular societies and times? What could objective moral facts possibly be like? If there were moral facts, how could we ever come to know anything about them? Shouldn't belief in the theory of evolution undermine our confidence that our moral intuitions reliably reveal moral truths? Would moral facts ever actually explain anything at all? Can morality really have the motivating and rational force we normally take it to have? How can one possibly find a place for objective moral values in a scientific worldview? The book explores plausible answers to questions like these and it thus aims to show why the belief in objective morality remains an intellectually reasonable one.

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Shelly Kagan
Yale University

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