Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory

Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (3) (2017)
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Abstract

J. L. Mackie famously argued that a commitment to non-existent objective values permeates ordinary moral thought and discourse. According to a standard interpretation, Mackie construed this commitment as a universal and indeed essential feature of moral judgments. In this paper I argue that we should rather ascribe to Mackie a form of semantic pluralism, according to which not all moral judgments involve the commitment to objective values. This interpretation not only makes better sense of what Mackie actually says, but also renders his error theory immune to a powerful objection.

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Victor Moberger
Umeå University

Citations of this work

Mackie Was Not an Error Theorist.Selim Berker - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):5-25.
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Hume’s Dictum and Metaethics.Victor Moberger - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):328-349.
Mackie and the Meaning of Moral Terms.Tammo Lossau - 2022 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 10 (1):1-13.
Social ontology in metaethics.Gloria Mähringer - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.

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References found in this work

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
The Language of Morals.Richard Mervyn Hare - 1952 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.

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