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

Kipros Lofitis
Nottingham University (PhD)
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/rati.12252
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,360
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):574-576.
The Moral Problem.James Lenman - 1994 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):125-126.
Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives.Philippa Foot - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (3):305-316.
The Myth of Morality.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2004 - Mind 113 (452):760-763.
Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Error Theory and the Belief Problem.Jussi Suikkanen - 2013 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 8. Oxford University Press. pp. 168-194.
Moral Error Theory and the Argument From Epistemic Reasons.Richard Rowland - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (1):1-24.
Moral Reasons, Epistemic Reasons, and Rationality.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):341-361.
Why Jonas Olson Cannot Believe the Error Theory Either.Bart Streumer - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (4):419-436.
Moral and Epistemic Error Theory : The Parity Premise Reconsidered.Jonas Olson - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Metaepistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 107-121.
Moral Error Theory.Wouter Floris Kalf - 2018 - Londen, Verenigd Koninkrijk: Palgrave Macmillan.
In Defense of Moral Error Theory.Jonas Olson - 2011 - In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
Conceptual Entailment Error Theory.Wouter Floris Kalf - 2018 - In Wouter Kalf (ed.), Moral Error Theory. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 27-79.
Mackie's Error Theory and Reasons.Douglas Farland - 2005 - South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):1-13.
Epistemology Shmepistemology: Moral Error Theory and Epistemic Expressivism.Stephen Ingram - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (7):649-669.
Moral Contextualism and the Problem of Triviality.Daan Evers - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):285-297.
In Defence of Error Theory.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):209-230.


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #473,012 of 2,448,821 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #177,670 of 2,448,821 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes