Moral Disagreement and Moral Relativism

Social Philosophy and Policy 11 (1):80 (1994)
In any society influenced by a plurality of cultures, there will be widespread, systematic differences about at least some important values, including moral values. Many of these differences look like deep disagreements, difficult to resolve objectively if that is possible at all. One common response to the suspicion that these disagreements are unsettleable has always been moral relativism. In the flurry of sympathetic treatments of this doctrine in the last two decades, attention has understandably focused on the simpler case in which one fairly self-contained and culturally homogeneous society confronts, at least in thought, the values of another; but most have taken relativism to have implications within a single pluralistic society as well. I am not among the sympathizers. That is partly because I am more optimistic than many about how many moral disagreements can be settled, but I shall say little about that here. For, even on the assumption that many disputes are unsettleable, I continue to find relativism a theoretically puzzling reaction to the problem of moral disagreement, and a troubling one in practice, especially when the practice involves regular interaction among those who disagree. This essay attempts to explain why
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0265052500004301
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,463
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
Gilbert Harman (2015). Moral Relativism is Moral Realism. Philosophical Studies 172 (4):855-863.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
John K. Davis (2010). An Alternative to Relativism. Philosophical Topics 38 (2):17-37.
Charles Sayward (1988). Do Moral Explanations Matter? Philosophy Research Archives 14:137-142.
Ralph Wedgwood (2010). The Moral Evil Demons. In Richard Feldman & Ted Warfield (eds.), Disagreement. Oxford University Press.
Alasdair MacIntyre (1999). Moral Pluralism Without Moral Relativism. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1:1-8.
Sarah McGrath (2008). Moral Disagreement and Moral Expertise. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 87-108.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

234 ( #13,722 of 1,925,522 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

18 ( #33,396 of 1,925,522 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.