Schopenhauer and Non-Cognitivist Moral Realism

Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):293-316 (2017)
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Abstract

I argue that Schopenhauer’s views on the foundations of morality challenge the widely-held belief that moral realism requires cognitivism about moral judgments. Schopenhauer’s core metaethical view consists of two claims: that moral worth is attributed to actions based in compassion, and that compassion, in contrast to egoism, arises from deep metaphysical insight into the non-distinctness of beings. These claims, I argue, are sufficient for moral realism, but are compatible with either cognitivism or non-cognitivism. While Schopenhauer’s views of moral judgment are not obviously consistent, I show how various passages suggest a form of non-cognitivism. This non-cognitivism, I claim, is compatible with moral realism.

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Colin Marshall
University of Washington

Citations of this work

Schopenhauer's Five-Dimensional Normative Ethics.Colin Marshall & Kayla Mehl - forthcoming - In David Bather Woods & Timothy Stoll (eds.), The Schopenhauerian Mind. Routledge.
Schopenhauer's Titus Argument.Colin Marshall - forthcoming - In Patrick Hassan (ed.), Schopenhauer's Moral Philosophy. Routledge.

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References found in this work

Moral realism.Peter Railton - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207.
Meta‐ethics and the problem of creeping minimalism.James Dreier - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):23–44.
Moral anti-realism.Richardn D. Joyce - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Moral Anti-Realism.Richard Joyce - 2016 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
Moral realism and moral dilemma.Philippa Foot - 1983 - Journal of Philosophy 80 (7):379-398.

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