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Disagreement: Ethics and Elsewhere
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Ethics and Social Philosophy.
2014 (English)In: Erkenntnis, ISSN 0165-0106, E-ISSN 1572-8420, Vol. 79, no S1, 55-72 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to a traditional argument against moral realism, the existence of objective moral facts is hard to reconcile with the existence of radical disagreement over moral issues. An increasingly popular response to this argument is to insist that it generalizes too easily. Thus, it has been argued that if one rejects moral realism on the basis of disagreement then one is committed to similar views about epistemology and meta-ethics itself, since the disagreements that arise in those areas are just as deep as the moral ones. This in turn is taken to show that a moral anti-realist should seek another basis for her position. For, if she extends her anti-realism also to epistemology and meta-ethics, then she is no longer in a position to say that her meta-ethical position is true or that it is a fact that we have reason to accept it. She therefore seems left with a position that hardly even seems to be a position. The purpose of the paper is to challenge this response and in particular the claim that the argument from disagreement applies equally well to epistemology and meta-ethics as it does to ethics. It is argued that, despite contrary appearances, there are crucial differences between the disagreements that occur in ethics compared to those that arise in the other areas. Moreover, even granted that the disagreements are just as deep, there are other differences between the areas that nevertheless justify drawing different conclusions about their status from the existence of those disagreements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014. Vol. 79, no S1, 55-72 p.
Keyword [en]
Disagreement, realism, moral realism, epistemology, meta-ethics, anti-realism
National Category
Ethics Philosophy
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-195314DOI: 10.1007/s10670-013-9445-4ISI: 000331970000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-195314DiVA: diva2:607494
Expressivism Generalised
Swedish Research Council, 2012-988
Available from: 2013-02-24 Created: 2013-02-24 Last updated: 2014-04-14Bibliographically approved

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