Ethical Realism

September 22, 2009

A Moral Anti-Realist Perspective

There are many different moral anti-realist perspectives. On one extreme an anti-realist could just say that morality is entirely delusional. Nothing matters. Go ahead and do whatever you want. This perspective is not very satisfying and it certainly won’t satisfy anyone who finds moral realism to be worthy of consideration. On the other hand an anti-realist could try to preserve our ethical beliefs, intuitions, and experiences without claiming that morality is irreducible. Morality is part of our lives, but it might be reducible to our psychology and culture. This is a kind of constructivist perspective, and it is the kind of perspective that I will present here. Constructivists believe that morality is in some sense constructed (created) by people. We have moral rules because we tend to agree to them. (Constructivism can be compatible with cultural relativism, which states that moral statements are true when they are approved of within a culture.)

I will attempt to relate anti-realism to our everyday life and experiences by discussing how an anti-realist perspective will relate to moral knowledge, reality, and psychology. (more…)

September 18, 2009

A Moral Realist Perspective

In order to relate moral realism to everyday life, let’s take a look at how a moral realist can view moral knowledge, reality, and psychology. I am not going to argue that this is the best perspective of moral realism possible. It is merely an example of a perspective. (more…)

September 16, 2009

What is Moral Realism?

(I wrote a new introduction to moral realism — “The Debate Over Moral Realism [5/20/2011])”

Before I create an argument that Moral Realism is plausible, I want to take a close look at what exactly Moral Realism and Anti-Realism entail. First, I will take a look at what moral realism and anti-realism mean. How do we know if someone is a moral realist or not? I will later take a look at what it would be like to adopt a moral realist or anti-realist perspective. We need to know how these perspectives relate to everyday life. (more…)

September 10, 2009

Contemporary Metaethics Part 1 Ebook PDF (Updated 6/24/2011)

Filed under: ethics,metaethics,philosophy,review — JW Gray @ 11:16 am
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I organized my reviews and opinions in a free ebook (PDF file). All of the reviews and opinions are from this website, but someone might find it convenient to be able to view it as an ebook. It discusses the basics of metaethics and provides several reviews of contemporary essays.

I spent a couple of hours to make the ebook. Several typos were fixed, but there are probably a lot more. Formatting is not as consistent as I would like, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it. My opinions involving metaethics are also inconsistent because I wrote my reviews within a stream of consciousness. I often changed my mind one day to the next based on the readings. (more…)

Contemporary Metaethics Part 1 Table of Contents

Filed under: ethics,metaethics — JW Gray @ 9:18 am
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I have finished reviewing Essays on Moral Realism edited by Geoffrey Sayre-McCord. This is a table of contents for my reviews and thoughts related to that anthology. (more…)

September 8, 2009

Conclusion: Ethical Naturalism

Naturalists believe that science is the most appropriate way to learn about the world and tend to be materialists, and they are the dominant philosophical community. Naturalism has its origins in empiricism and science: We wanted a way to learn about the world without prejudice and fantasy. Philosophy and religion tends to suffer from our psychological tendency to see the world in human psychological terms. There has to be a “reason” for everything to happen in the sense that there has to be a motive. The scientific process offered a way to avoid anthropomorphizing the world by reducing everything to thoughtless bits of matter. (We might start to worry when scientists offer us a non-anthropomorphic understanding of human beings and try to reduce us to thoughtless bits of matter.) (more…)

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