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Putting Metaphysics FirstEssays on Metaphysics and Epistemology$
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Michael Devitt

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280803.001.0001

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Moral Realism A Naturalistic Perspective *

Moral Realism A Naturalistic Perspective *

(p.182) 9 Moral Realism A Naturalistic Perspective*
Putting Metaphysics First

Michael Devitt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for moral realism. What is moral realism? Standard answers in terms of truth and meaning are rejected. These answers are partly motivated by the phenomenon of noncognitivism. Noncognitivism does indeed cause trouble for a straightforwardly metaphysical answer but still such an answer can be given. Moral realism should be accepted because it is prima facie plausible and its alternatives are not. But what about the arguments against moral realism? The chapter looks critically at the argument from ‘queerness’, the argument from relativity, the argument from explanation, and epistemological arguments. But there is a major worry for moral realism: How can it be accommodated in a naturalistic world view? The chapter concludes with some brief and inadequate remarks in response to this question.

Keywords:   moral realism, truth, meaning, noncognitivism, queerness, relativism, naturalism

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