Personal Goodness and Moral Facts

Abstract

Peter Railton argues that normative realism is justified because the non-moral goodness of an individual has explanatory uses. After having equated moral rightness with a kind of impersonal social rationality, he argues that rightness, so defined, helps to explain various social phenomena. If he is right, then moral realism would be justified, too. Railton’s argument fails, however, on both counts. Several crucial steps in his reasoning are unsupported and are likely to be false. The explanations he proposes may be dismissed in favor of better explanations that do not use any normative or moral terms. Some of us may share RaiIton’s moral standards. There is no reason, however, to embrace his metaethical position as welI. His arguments do not support either normative or moral facts.

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