Saving which differences? Creeping minimalism and disagreement

Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1905-1921 (2019)

Authors
Christine Tiefensee
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Abstract
Much thought has been devoted to how metaethical disagreement between moral realism and expressivism can be saved once minimalism starts creeping. Very little thought has been given to how creeping minimalism affects error-theories’ disagreement with their metaethical competitors. The reason for this omission, I suspect, is found in the belief that whilst locating distinctive moral realist and expressivist positions within a minimalist landscape poses a severe challenge, no such difficulties are encountered when differentiating error-theories from moral realism and expressivism. In the first part of this paper, I show that this belief is mistaken: Insofar as moral realists and error-theorists are still taken to disagree, creeping minimalism renders their disagreement moral, but makes these positions metaethically indistinguishable. In the second part of the paper, I present a modified inferentialist solution to the problem of creeping minimalism which seeks to put error-theories back on the metaethical map. Yet, this too comes at a cost, in that it significantly modifies our interpretation of error-theories. Whichever way we turn, then, creeping minimalism not only forces us to re-phrase metaethical positions in a way that is compatible with minimalism, but also requires us to change our very understanding of these positions.
Keywords Creeping minimalism  Metaethics  Expressivism  Moral Realism  Error Theory  Inferentialism
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1103-x
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References found in this work BETA

Expressivism, Inferentialism, and Saving the Debate.Matthew Chrisman - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):334-358.
Meta‐Ethics and the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.James Dreier - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):23–44.
Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem.Charles R. Pigden - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):441-456.
Meta‐ethics and The Problem of Creeping Minimalism.James Dreier - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):23-44.

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