Mores and Morals: Metaethics and the Social World

In Tristram Colin McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 417-430 (2017)
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Abstract

Anyone who has taught an introductory ethics course has found themselves having to explain that some important words can be used in different ways. There is the way social scientists talk when they refer to the norms of a Balinese cockfight, the values of early modern scientific culture, and the morality of Bolsheviks. This chapter examines the possibility that the social aspects of morality might tell us something important about what morality must be, and thus inform our metaethics. It reviews a case for a profitable engagement between metaethics and foundational questions about the social world. The chapter summarizes how extant metaethical views might accommodate, and indeed gain support from, the social features of morality. Naturalists are interested in whether moral facts can earn their keep in our scientific worldview by explaining empirical phenomena. More recent work premised on the idea that moral judgment is based on sentiment sees a more limited role for social induction.

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Kenneth Walden
Dartmouth College

Citations of this work

Robust Normativity, Morality, and Legal Positivism.David Plunkett - 2019 - In Toh Kevin, Plunkett David & Shapiro Scott (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 105-136.

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