John Locke and the problems of moral knowledge

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):509–526 (2006)
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In this paper, I argue that John Locke's account of knowledge coupled with his commitments to moral ideas being voluntary constructions of our own minds and to divine voluntarism (moral rules are given by God according to his will) leads to a seriously flawed view of moral knowledge. After explicating Locke's view of moral knowledge, highlighting the specific problems that seem to arise from it, and suggesting some possible Lockean responses, I conclude that the best Locke can do is give us a trivial account of moral knowledge which cannot avoid problems with subjectivity and relativism.



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