In this paper I defend what I call the argument from epistemic reasons against the moralerrortheory. I argue that the moralerrortheory entails that there are no epistemic reasons for belief and that this is bad news for the moralerrortheory since, if there are no epistemic reasons for belief, no one knows anything. If no one knows anything, then no one knows that there is thought when (...) they are thinking, and no one knows that they do not know everything. And it could not be the case that we do not know that there is thought when we believe that there is thought and that we do not know that we do not know everything. I address several objections to the claim that the moralerrortheory entails that there are no epistemic reasons for belief. It might seem that arguing against the errortheory on the grounds that it entails that no one knows anything is just providing a Moorean argument against the moralerrortheory. I show that even if my argument against the errortheory is indeed a Moorean one, it avoids Streumer's, McPherson's and Olson's objections to previous Moorean arguments against the errortheory and is a more powerful argument against the errortheory than Moore's argument against external world skepticism is against external world skepticism. (shrink)
Moralerror theories claim that (i) moral utterances express moral beliefs, that (ii) moral beliefs ascribe moral properties, and that (iii) moral properties are not instantiated. Thus, according to these views, there seems to be conclusive evidence against the truth of our ordinary moral beliefs. Furthermore, many error theorists claim that, even if we accepted moralerrortheory, we could still in principle keep our first-order moral beliefs. (...) This chapter argues that this last claim makes many popular versions of the moralerrortheory incompatible with the standard philosophical accounts of beliefs. Functionalism, normative theories of beliefs, representationalism, and interpretationalism all entail that being sensitive to thoughts about evidence is a constitutive feature of beliefs. Given that many moralerror theorists deny that moral beliefs have this quality, their views are in a direct conflict with the most popular views about the nature of beliefs. (shrink)
Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moralerrortheory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends errortheory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
This book provides a novel formulation and defence of moralerrortheory. It also provides a novel solution to the so-called now what question; viz., the question what we should do with our moral thought and talk after moralerrortheory. The novel formulation of moralerrortheory uses pragmatic presupposition rather than conceptual entailment to argue that moral judgments carry a non-negotiable commitment to categorical moral reasons. The (...) new answer to the now what question is pragmatic presupposition substitutionism: we should substitute our current moral judgments, which pragmatically presuppose the existence of categorical moral reasons with ‘schmoral’ judgments that pragmatically presuppose the existence of a specific class of prudential reasons. These are prudential reasons that, when we act on them, contribute to the satisfaction of what the author calls ‘the fundamental desire’; namely, the desire to live in a world with mutually beneficial cooperation. (shrink)
Recently, companions in guilt strategies have garnered significant philosophical attention as a response to arguments for moralerrortheory, the view that there are no moral facts and that our moral beliefs are thus systematically mistaken. According to Cuneo (The normative web: an argument for moral realism, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007), Das (Philos Q 66:152–160, 2016; Australas J Philos 95(1):58–69, 2017), Rowland (J Ethics Soc Philos 7(1):1–24, 2012; Philos Q 66:161–171, 2016) and others, (...) epistemic facts would be just as metaphysically problematic (or ‘guilty’) as moral facts. But since epistemic errortheory is implausible, arguments for moralerrortheory prove too much and should be rejected. My aim is to argue that the success of this strategy is limited. In particular, the companions in guilt response fails against error-theoretic arguments motivated by concerns about explanatory dispensability, as recently developed by Joyce (The evolution of morality, MIT press, Bradford, 2005) and Olson (Moralerrortheory: history, critique, defence, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014: Ch. 7). To succeed, the response would require a prima facie plausible argument to the effect that epistemic facts are metaphysically dubious because they, too, are explanatorily dispensable. But, as I show, any such argument proves self-effacing: its premise commits us to believing in epistemic facts, while its conclusion forces us to deny their existence. Consequently, companions in guilt strategies don’t offer a panacea against arguments for moralerrortheory. (shrink)
According to moralerrortheory, moral discourse is error-ridden. Establishing errortheory requires establishing two claims. These are that moral discourse carries a non-negotiable commitment to there being a moral reality and that there is no such reality. This paper concerns the first and so-called non-negotiable commitment claim. It starts by identifying the two existing argumentative strategies for settling that claim. The standard strategy is to argue for a relation of conceptual (...) entailment between the moral statements that comprise moral discourse and the statement that there is a moral reality. The non-standard strategy is to argue for a presupposition relation instead. Error theorists have so far failed to consider a third strategy, which uses a general entailment relation that doesn’t require intricate relations between concepts. The paper argues that both entailment claims struggle to meet a new explanatory challenge and that since the presupposition option doesn’t we have prima facie reason to prefer it over the entailment options. The paper then argues that suitably amending the entailment claims enables them to meet this challenge. With all three options back on the table the paper closes by arguing that error theorists should consider developing the currently unrecognised, non-conceptual entailment claim. (shrink)
My aim in this essay is largely defensive. I aim to discuss some problems for moralerrortheory and to offer plausible solutions. A full positive defense of moralerrortheory would require substantial investigations of rival metaethical views, but that is beyond the scope of this essay. I will, however, try to motivate moralerrortheory and to clarify its commitments. Moralerror theorists typically accept two claims – (...) one conceptual and one ontological – about moral facts. The conceptual claim is that moral facts are or entail facts about categorical reasons (and correspondingly that moral claims are or entail claims about categorical reasons); the ontological claim is that there are no categorical reasons – and consequently no moral facts – in reality. I accept this version of moralerrortheory and I try to unpack what it amounts to in Section 2.1 In the course of doing so I consider two preliminary objections: that moralerrortheory is (probably) false because its implications are intuitively unacceptable (what I call the Moorean objection) and that the general motivation for moralerrortheory is self-undermining in that it rests on a hidden appeal to norms. The above characterization seems to entail the standard formulation of moralerrortheory, according to which first-order moral claims are uniformly false. Critics have argued that the standard formulation is incoherent since – by the law of excluded middle – the negation of a false claim is true. Hence if ‘Torture is wrong’ is false, ‘Torture is not wrong’ is true. Contrary to what moralerror theorists contend, then, moralerrortheory seems to carry first-order moral implications that by the theory’s own lights are uniformly false. In Section 3 I suggest a formulation that is consistent with the standard formulation of moralerrortheory, free of first-order moral implications, and subject to no logical difficulties. In Section 4 I consider and rebut Stephen Finlay’s recent attack on moralerrortheory. According to Finlay the conceptual claim is false because all moral claims – and indeed all normative claims – are, or should be understood as, relativized to some moral standard or system of ends. Moralerror theorists thus attribute to ordinary speakers an error that simply isn’t there. I argue that Finlay’s view has some very implausible implications and that it does not avoid commitment to various forms of errortheory. This becomes especially clear when we focus on fundamental moral claims. In Section 5 I consider the worry that error theorists’ rejection of categorical reasons proves too much; in particular, the worry that error theorists’ qualms about categorical reasons apply equally to claims about hypothetical reasons, that is, claims to the effect that there is reason to take the means to one’s ends. In my view error theorists such as Mackie and Joyce have failed to pay due consideration to this problem. What the challenge establishes, I submit, is that error theorists cannot just take for granted that hypothetical reasons are metaphysically unproblematic; they must offer an account of hypothetical reasons that shows that they are. I argue that the only plausible account available to error theorists is one according to which claims about hypothetical reasons reduce to non-normative claims about relations between means and ends. (shrink)
The paper explores the consequences of adopting a moralerrortheory targeted at the notion of reasonable convergence. I examine the prospects of two ways of combining acceptance of such a theory with continued acceptance of moral judgements in some form. On the first model, moral judgements are accepted as a pragmatically intelligible fiction. On the second model, moral judgements are made relative to a framework of assumptions with no claim to reasonable convergence (...) on their behalf. I argue that the latter model shows greater promise for an error theorist whose commitment to moral thought is initially serious. (shrink)
The moralerror theorist claims that moral discourse is irredeemably in error because it is committed to the existence of properties that do not exist. A common response has been to postulate ‘companions in guilt’—forms of discourse that seem safe from error despite sharing the putatively problematic features of moral discourse. The most developed instance of this pairs moral discourse with epistemic discourse. In this paper, I present a new, prudential, companions-in-guilt argument and (...) argue for its superiority over the epistemic alternative. (shrink)
Moral abolitionists recommend that we get rid of moral discourse and moral judgement. At first glance this seems repugnant, but abolitionists think that we have overestimated the practical value of our moral framework and that eliminating it would be in our interests. I argue that abolitionism has a surprising amount going for it. Traditionally, abolitionism has been treated as an option available to moralerror theorists. Error theorists say that moral discourse and (...) judgement are committed to the existence of moral properties, and that no such properties exist. After errortheory is established, abolitionism is one potential way to proceed. However, many error theorists suggest that we retain moral discourse as a sort of fiction. I evaluate some attractions of both fictionalism and abolitionism, arguing that abolitionism is a plausible position. No one doubts that error theorists can be abolitionists. However, what has gone largely undiscussed is that it is open to others to be abolitionists as well. I argue that moral realists of a metaphysically robust sort can and perhaps should be abolitionists. ‘Realist abolitionism’ makes for a surprisingly neat theoretical package, and I conclude that it represents an interesting new option in the theoretical landscape. (shrink)
In this paper, I distinguish between two error theories of morality: one couched in terms of truth ; the other in terms of justification. I then present two arguments: the Poisoned Presupposition Argument for ET1; and the Evolutionary Debunking Argument for ET2. I go on to show how assessing these arguments requires paying attention to empirical moral psychology, in particular, work on folk metaethics. After criticizing extant work, I suggest avenues for future research.
Philosophers should consider a hybrid meta-ethical theory that includes elements of both moral expressivism and moralerrortheory. Proponents of such an expressivist-errortheory hold that all moral utterances are either expressions of attitudes or expressions of false beliefs. Such a hybrid theory has two advantages over pure expressivism, because hybrid theorists can offer a more plausible account of the moral utterances that seem to be used to express beliefs, and (...) hybrid theorists can provide a simpler solution to the Frege-Geach problem. The hybrid theory has three advantages over pure errortheory, because hybrid theorists can offer a more plausible account of the moral utterances that seem to be used to express attitudes, hybrid theorists can more easily explain moral motivation, and hybrid theorists can avoid the implausible claim that all moral discourse is radically mistaken. Accordingly, such a hybrid theory should be more attractive than pure expressivism or pure errortheory to philosophers who are skeptical about moral facts and truth. (shrink)
Proponents of the epistemic companions in guilt argument argue that we should reject the moralerrortheory because it entails that there are no epistemic reasons. In this paper, I investigate whether a plausible version of the moralerrortheory can be constructed that does not entail an errortheory about epistemic reasons. I argue that there are no irreducibly normative second-personal reasons even if there are irreducibly normative reasons. And epistemic reasons (...) are not second-personal reasons. In this case, a plausible version of the moralerrortheory can be constructed that does not entail an errortheory about epistemic reasons if facts and claims about morality entail facts and claims about irreducibly normative second-personal reasons. And, as I explain, there is a good case that facts and claims about morality do entail facts and claims about irreducibly normative second-personal reasons. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 397 - 402 Moralerror theorists and moral realists agree about several disputed metaethical issues. They typically agree that ordinary moral judgments are beliefs and that ordinary moral utterances purport to refer to moral facts. But they disagree on the crucial ontological question of whether there are any moral facts. Moralerror theorists hold that there are not and that, as a consequence, ordinary (...) class='Hi'>moral beliefs are systematically mistaken and ordinary moral judgments uniformly untrue. Perhaps because of its kinship with moral realism, moralerrortheory is often considered the most notorious of moral scepticisms. While the view has been widely discussed, it has had relatively few defenders. _Moral ErrorTheory: History, Critique, Defence_ examines the view from a historical as well as a contemporary perspective, and purports to respond to some of its most prominent challenges. This précis is a brief summary of the book’s content. (shrink)
I highlight a tension within the moralerror theoretic stance. Although I do not show that it is fatal, I believe the tension is problematic. In stating the tension I outline a conception of the common moral background against which it arises. I also discuss aspects of the similar error theories developed by John Mackie and Richard Joyce in order to show the tension at work.
ABSTRACTMoral error theorists think that moral judgments such as ‘stealing is morally wrong’ express truth-apt beliefs that ascribe moral properties to objects and actions. They also think that moral properties are not instantiated. Since moralerror theorists think that moral judgments can only be true if they correctly describe moral properties, they think that no moral judgment is true. The belief problem for moralerrortheory is that this (...)theory is inconsistent with every plausible theory of belief. I argue that moralerror theorists can solve the belief problem. My argument is twofold. First, the belief problem rests on a false presupposition about how moralerror theorists reason over time. Once we get clear on how would-be error theorists in fact reason towards the errortheory and how, once they are error theorists, they subsequently reason about what they should do with their erroneous moral thought and talk, the belief problem evaporates. Second, even if my first argument fails and error theori... (shrink)
Jonas Olson defends a moralerrortheory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the errortheory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the errortheory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion).
The paper distinguishes three strategies by means of which empirical discoveries about the nature of morality can be used to undermine moral judgements. On the first strategy, moral judgements are shown to be unjustified in virtue of being shown to rest on ignorance or false belief. On the second strategy, moral judgements are shown to be false by being shown to entail claims inconsistent with the relevant empirical discoveries. On the third strategy, moral judgements are shown (...) to be false in virtue of being shown to be unjustified; truth having been defined epistemologically in terms of justification. By interpreting three recent error theoretical arguments in light of these strategies, the paper evaluates the epistemological and metaphysical relevance of empirical discoveries about morality as a naturally evolved phenomenon. (shrink)
Unbelievable Errors defends an errortheory about all normative judgements: not just moral judgements, but also judgements about reasons for action, judgements about reasons for belief, and instrumental normative judgements. This theory states that normative judgements are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, but that normative properties do not exist. It therefore entails that all normative judgements are false. -/- Bart Streumer also argues, however, that we cannot believe this errortheory. This may seem to (...) be a problem for the theory. But he argues that it makes this errortheory more likely to be true, since it undermines objections to the theory and it makes it harder to reject the arguments for the theory. -/- He then sketches how certain other philosophical theories can be defended in a similar way. He concludes that to make philosophical progress, we need to make a sharp distinction between a theory's truth and our ability to believe it. (shrink)
This article is a response to critical articles by Daan Evers, Bart Streumer, and Teemu Toppinen on my book MoralErrorTheory: History, Critique, Defence. I will be concerned with four main topics. I shall first try to illuminate the claim that moral facts are queer, and its role in the argument for moralerrortheory. In section 2, I discuss the relative merits of moralerrortheory and moral (...) contextualism. In section 3, I explain why I still find the queerness argument concerning supervenience an unpromising argument against non-naturalistic moral realism. In section 4, finally, I reconsider the question whether I, or anyone, can believe the errortheory. (shrink)
Moralerrortheory claims that no moral sentence is (nonvacuously) true. Atheism claims that the existence of evil in the world is incompatible with, or makes improbable, the existence of God. Is moralerrortheory compatible with atheism? This paper defends the thesis that it is compatible against criticisms by Nicholas Sturgeon.
Moralerror theorists hold that morality is deeply mistaken, thus raising the question of whether and how moral judgments and utterances should continue to be employed. Proposals include simply abolishing morality, adopting some revisionary fictionalist stance toward morality, and conserving moral judgments and utterances unchanged. I defend a fourth proposal, namely revisionary moral expressivism, which recommends replacing cognitivist moral judgments and utterances with non-cognitivist ones. Given that non-cognitivist attitudes are not truth apt, revisionary expressivism (...) does not involve moralerror. Moreover, revisionary expressivism has the theoretical resources to retain many of the useful features of morality, such as moral motivation, moral disagreement, and moral reasoning. Revisionary expressivism fares better than the three major alternatives in both avoiding moralerror and preserving these useful features of morality. I also show how this position differs from the “revolutionary expressivism” of Sebastian Köhler and Michael Ridge. (shrink)
Error theories about morality often take as their starting point the supposed queerness of morality, and those resisting these arguments often try to argue by analogy that morality is no more queer than other unproblematic subject matters. Here, errortheory (as exemplified primarily by the work of Richard Joyce) is resisted first by arguing that it assumes a common, modern, and peculiarly social conception of morality. Then error theorists point out that the social nature of morality (...) requires one to act against one's self-interest while insisting on the categorical, inescapable, or overriding status of moral considerations: they argue that morality requires magic, then (rightly) claim that there is no such thing as magic. An alternate eudaimonist conception of morality is introduced which itself has an older provenance than the social point of view, dating to the ancient Greeks. Eudaimonism answers to the normative requirements of morality, yet does not require magic. Thus, the initial motivation for errortheory is removed. (shrink)
This contribution considers whether or not it is possible to devise a coherent form of external skepticism about the normative if we ‘relax’ about normative ontology by regarding claims about the existence of normative truths and properties themselves as normative. I answer this question in the positive: A coherent form of non-normative error-theories can be developed even against a relaxed background. However, this form no longer makes any reference to the alleged falsity of normative judgments, nor the non-existence of (...) normative properties. Instead, it concerns a specifically inferentialist construal of error-theories which suggests that error-theorists should abstain from any claims about normative ontology to focus exclusively on claims about the inferential role of normative vocabulary. As I will show, this suggestion affords a number of important advantages. However, it also comes at a cost, in that it might not only change the letter, but also the spirit of traditional error-theories. (shrink)
In The Myth of Morality Richard Joyce presents a simple and very influential argument for the truth of moralerrortheory. In this paper I point out that the argument does not have the form Joyce attributes to it, the argument is not valid in an extensional propositional logic and on the most natural way of explicating the meanings of the involved terms, it remains invalid. I conclude that more explanation is needed if we are to accept (...) this particular argument for moralerrortheory. (shrink)
_ Source: _Page Count 25 Moralerror theorists hold that morality is deeply mistaken, thus raising the question of whether and how moral judgments and utterances should continue to be employed. Proposals include simply abolishing morality, adopting some revisionary fictionalist stance toward morality, and conserving moral judgments and utterances unchanged. I defend a fourth proposal, namely revisionary moral expressivism, which recommends replacing cognitivist moral judgments and utterances with non-cognitivist ones. Given that non-cognitivist attitudes are (...) not truth apt, revisionary expressivism does not involve moralerror. Moreover, revisionary expressivism has the theoretical resources to retain many of the useful features of morality, such as moral motivation, moral disagreement, and moral reasoning. Revisionary expressivism fares better than the three major alternatives in both avoiding moralerror and preserving these useful features of morality. I also show how this position differs from the “revolutionary expressivism” of Sebastian Köhler and Michael Ridge. (shrink)
Moralerrortheory of the kind defended by J. L. Mackie and Richard Joyce is premised on two claims: (1) that moral judgements essentially presuppose that moral value has absolute authority, and (2) that this presupposition is false, because nothing has absolute authority. This paper accepts (2) but rejects (1). It is argued first that (1) is not the best explanation of the evidence from moral practice, and second that even if it were, the (...)errortheory would still be mistaken, because the assumption does not contaminate the meaning or truth-conditions of moral claims. These are determined by the essential application conditions for moral concepts, which are relational rather than absolute. An analogy is drawn between moral judgements and motion judgements. (shrink)
Many moralerror theorists hold that moral facts are irreducibly normative. They also hold that irreducible normativity is metaphysically queer and conclude that there are no irreducibly normative reasons and consequently no moral facts. A popular response to moralerrortheory utilizes the so-called ‘companions in guilt’ strategy and argues that if moral reasons are irreducibly normative, then epistemic reasons are too. This is the Parity Premise, on the basis of which critics (...) of moralerrortheory draw the Parity Conclusion that if there are no irreducibly normative reasons, there are no moral reasons and no epistemic reasons. From the Parity Conclusion and Epistemic Realism, it follows that it is false that there are no irreducibly normative reasons. In this paper, I argue that the Parity Premise and the Parity Conclusion can both plausibly be rejected. (shrink)
Moralerror theories are often rejected by appeal to ‘companions in guilt’ arguments. The most popular form of companions in guilt argument takes epistemic reasons for belief as a ‘companion’ and proceeds by analogy. I show that this strategy fails. I claim that the companions in guilt theorist must understand epistemic reasons as evidential support relations if her argument is to be dialectically effective. I then present a dilemma. Either epistemic reasons are evidential support relations or they are (...) not. If they are not, then the companions in guilt argument fails. If they are, then a reduction of epistemic reasons to evidential support relations becomes available and, consequently, epistemic reasons cease to be a viable ‘companion’ for moral reasons. I recommend this structure of argument over existing strategies within the literature and defend my claims against recent objections from companions in guilt theorists. (shrink)
What kind of properties are moral qualities, such as rightness, badness, etc? Some ethicists doubt that there are any such properties; they maintain that thinking that something is morally wrong (for example) is comparable to thinking that something is a unicorn or a ghost. These "moralerror theorists" argue that the world simply does not contain the kind of properties or objects necessary to render our moral judgments true. This radical form of moral skepticism was (...) championed by the philosopher John Mackie (1917-1981). This anthology is a collection of philosophical essays critically examining Mackie’s view. (shrink)
This paper considers whether theism is compatible with moralerrortheory. This issue is neglected, perhaps because it is widely assumed that these views are incompatible. I argue that this is mistaken. In so doing, I articulate the best argument for thinking that theism and moralerrortheory are incompatible. According to it, these views are incompatible because theism entails that God is morally good, and moralerrortheory entails that God (...) is not. I reject this argument. Since it is the best argument for thinking that theism and moralerrortheory are incompatible, I conclude that these views are compatible: one can coherently accept both views. (shrink)
Some philosophers object to moralerrortheory by arguing that there a parity between moral and epistemic normativity. They maintain that moral and epistemic errortheory stand or fall together, that epistemic errortheory falls, and that moralerrortheory thus falls too. This paper offers a response to this objection on behalf of moralerror theorists. I defend the view that moral and epistemic (...) class='Hi'>errortheory do not stand or fall together by arguing that moralerrortheory can be sustained alongside epistemic expressivism. This unusual combination of theories can be underpinned by differences in the foundational norms that guide moral and epistemic inquiry. I conclude that the problem of epistemic normativity fails to show that it is compulsory for us to reject moralerrortheory. (shrink)
Moralerror-theorists and relativists agree that there are no absolute moral facts, but disagree whether that makes all moral judgments false. Who is right? This paper examines a type of objection used by moralerror-theorists against relativists, and vice versa: objections from implausible ascriptions of mistakes. Relativists (and others) object to error-theory that it implausibly implies that people, in having moral beliefs, are systematically mistaken about what exists. Error-theorists (and others) (...) object to relativism that it implausibly implies that people are systematically mistaken about the content of their own moral beliefs. The paper argues that such arguments cannot settle between the two theories since, contrary to first appearance, both theories face the very same challenges of explaining mistaken beliefs. (shrink)
John P. Burgess has remarked that Mackie: “even though he talks of the need to invent morality … does not seem to think that this proposal could be worked into a revisionary meta-ethic”. In the first part of my paper, I argue that Mackie did propose a revisionary meta-ethic (conceptual reformism), and that Mackie was not a preservatist, abolitionist, or semantic pluralist. I also argue that interpreting Mackie as a conceptual reformist enables us to overcome a number of standard objections (...) to his errortheory. The upshot is that we should take seriously the idea that Mackie was a conceptual reform moralerror theorist. (shrink)
We first deal with a few preliminary matters and discuss what-if any-distinct impact belief in moralerrortheory should have on our moral practice. Second, we describe what is involved in giving an answer to our leading question and take notice of some factors that are relevant to what an adequate answer might look like. We also argue that the specific details of adequate answers to our leading question will depend largely on context. Third, we consider (...) three extant answers to our leading question: fictionalism, conservationism, and abolitionism. Of these three, conservationism seems most promising. However, conservationism leaves pertinent questions unanswered. In order to provide answers to these questions, and ultimately to provide an answer to our leading question, conservationism needs to be supplemented, yielding an account we call “negotiationism.” This final proposal is not neat and tidy, but it might work reasonably well in the moral environment in which error theorists are likely to find themselves. (shrink)
Christos Kyriacou has recently proposed charging moralerror theorists with intellectual vice. He does this in response to an objection that Ingram makes against the 'moral fixed points view' developed by Cuneo and Shafer-Landau. This brief paper shows that Kyriacou's proposed vice-charge fails to vindicate the moral fixed points view. I argue that any attempt to make an epistemic vice-charge against error theorists will face major obstacles, and that it is highly unlikely that such a (...) charge could receive the evidential support that it would need in order to play the dialectical role that Kyriacou has in mind for it. I conclude that the moral fixed points view remains in serious trouble. (shrink)
I introduce a new version of MoralErrorTheory, which I call Type-B MoralErrorTheory. According to a Type-B theorist there are no facts of the kind required for there to be morality in stricto sensu, but there can be irreducible ‘normative’ properties which she deems, strictly speaking, to be morally irrelevant. She accepts that there are instrumental all things considered oughts, and categorical pro tanto oughts, but denies that there are categorical all (...) things considered oughts on pain of requiring ‘queer’ facts to obtain. I detail the most central motivation of this version of the theory against its more traditional rival, according to which there are no irreducible normative properties at all. The motivation is that it, unlike its rival, can successfully be defended against the notorious charge of self-defeat. (shrink)
Jonas Olson writes that "a plausible moralerrortheory must be an errortheory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think we cannot believe this errortheory. I first argue that Olson should say that reasons for belief are irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an errortheory about all irreducible normativity. I then explain why I think (...) Olson's objections to this argument fail. I end by showing that Olson cannot defend his view as a partly revisionary alternative to an errortheory about all irreducible normativity. (shrink)