Ratio 33 (1):37-45 (2020)

Authors
Kipros Lofitis
Nottingham University (PhD)
Abstract
An error theory about moral reasons is the view that ordinary thought is committed to error, and that the alleged error is the thought that moral norms (expressing alleged moral requirements) invariably supply agents with sufficient normative reasons (for action). In this paper, I sketch two distinct ways of arguing for the error theorist's substantive conclusion that moral norms do not invariably supply agents with sufficient normative reasons. I am primarily interested in the somewhat neglected way, which I call the alternative route. A reason for this is because it seems a genuine question whether the alternative route towards the substantive conclusion need be as troubling to the moralist as the standard route. My hunch is that it is not. Though the alternative error theory denies justification from genuinely moral acts, it also does so from acts born out of self-interest or immorality. If the alternative theory is true, the moralist can at least hold on to the claim that if genuinely moral considerations fail to provide agents with reasons for action, nothing else (of the sort) does.
Keywords metaethics  moral error theory  moral reasons  normativity  reasons
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DOI 10.1111/rati.12252
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