Dissertation, Uppsala University (2018)

Victor Moberger
Stockholm University
This book investigates the argument from queerness against moral realism, famously put forward by J. L. Mackie in Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (1977). The book can be divided into two parts. The first part, roughly comprising chapters 1 and 2, gives a critical overview of Mackie’s metaethics. In chapter 1 it is suggested that the argument from queerness is the only argument that poses a serious threat to moral realism. A partial defense of this idea is offered in chapter 2 via a discussion of Mackie’s argument from relativity, which is concluded to fail for reasons that generalize to other influential arguments against moral realism. Chapter 2 also explores Mackie’s moral semantics at length. The key notion of authoritative prescriptivity is analyzed, and a new interpretation of Mackie’s error theory is defended. In the second part, consisting roughly of chapters 3 and 4, the argument from queerness is taken apart and put back together, resulting in several different versions. Chapter 3 discusses three different supervenience-related arguments, all of which are found to be unpersuasive. Chapter 4 develops two different versions of the core argument from queerness, focusing on authoritative prescriptivity. A total of thirteen objections are discussed and rejected. It is concluded that the two arguments do indeed refute the targeted versions of moral realism. Finally, in chapter 5 the entire discussion is briefly summarized.
Keywords J. L. Mackie, argument from queerness, objective values, moral realism, claim to objectivity, argument from relativity, non-naturalism, supervenience, normative explanation, authoritative prescriptivity, objectivity, categoricity, minimal realism, ardent realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
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: 65,593
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Mackiean Supervenience Challenge.Victor Moberger - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):219-236.
Hume’s Dictum and Metaethics.Victor Moberger - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):328-349.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Parsimony and the Argument From Queerness.Justin Morton & Eric Sampson - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (4):609-627.
Mackie's Error Theory and Reasons.Douglas Farland - 2005 - South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):1-13.
The Vanishing Argument From Queerness.Lee Shepski - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):371 – 387.
Mackie's Realism.Jamie Dreier - 2010 - In Richard Joyce & Simon Kirchen (eds.), A World Without Values. Springer.
What’s So Queer About Morality?Luke Taylor - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (1):11-29.
Explaining Supervenience: Moral and Mental.Nick Zagwill - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22 (April):509-518.
Explaining Supervenience: Moral and Mental.Nick Zagwill - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22:509-518.
Values Vs. Secondary Qualities.Dan López de Sa - 2006 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):197-210.
Explaining Supervenience: Moral and Mental.Nick Zagwill - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22:509-518.


Added to PP index

Total views
47 ( #231,937 of 2,462,051 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #70,504 of 2,462,051 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes