Defending the Kratzerian presuppositional error theory

Analysis 81 (4):701–709 (2021)
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Abstract

This paper provides a new solution to the problem of moral permissions for the moral error theory. The problem is that the error theorist seems committed to the claim that all actions are morally permitted, as well as to the contradictory claim that no action is morally permitted. My solution understands the moral error theory as the view that folk moral discourse is systematically in error by virtue of suffering from semantic presupposition failure, which I show is consistent with a Kratzerian semantics for deontic modals in natural language. Formally, the solution is to treat the ordering source parameter within Kratzer’s semantics as undefined in the case of folk moral discourse. The paper concludes with thoughts about the import of the solution proffered for the alleged independence of the moral error theory from normative ethics.

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Author's Profile

Elliot Salinger
Princeton University

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Aboutness.Stephen Yablo - 2014 - Oxford: Princeton University Press.
Justice for Hedgehogs.Ronald Dworkin - 2011 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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