Mackie’s error theory: A Wittgensteinian critique

Revista Kínesis 7 (13):30-47 (2015)
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Abstract

I start by arguing that Mackie’s claim that there are no objective values is a nonsensical one. I do this by ‘assembling reminders’ of the correct use of the term ‘values’ and by examining the grammar of moral propositions à la Wittgenstein. I also examine Hare’s thought experiment which is used to demonstrate “that no real issue can be built around the objectivity or otherwise of moral values” before briefly looking at Mackie’s ‘argument from queerness’. In the final section I propose that Robert Arrington’s ‘conceptual relativism’, inspired by Wittgenstein, helps to make our use of moral language more perspicuous and avoids the problems faced by Mackie

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Robert Vinten
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

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