David Manley
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Are moral terms semantically plastic—that is, would very slight changes in our patterns of use have shifted their meanings? This is a delicate question for moral realists. A 'yes' answer seems to conflict with the sorts of intuitions that support realism; but a 'no' answer seems to require a semantics that involves hefty metaphysical commitments. This tension can be illustrated by thinking about how standard accounts of vagueness can be applied to the case of moral terms, and also by considering how realists should respond to the Moral Twin Earth problem. After presenting the puzzle, I will argue that moral realists can accept the semantic plasticity of moral expressions while accounting for contrary intuitions in a way that is nearly cost-free.
Keywords moral twin earth  moral realism  moral vagueness  vagueness in ethics  vague moral terms  semantics for moral realism
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - Routledge.
Naturalness.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 8. Oxford University Press. pp. 1.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Causal Metaphor Account of Metaphysical Explanation.Jonathan Shaheen - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):553-578.
Vagueness and Indeterminacy in Metaethics.Tom Dougherty - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 185-193.

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