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Taking Morality SeriouslyA Defense of Robust Realism$
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David Enoch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579969

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579969.001.0001

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(p.151) 7 Epistemology
Taking Morality Seriously

David Enoch

Oxford University Press

A common objection to realism (robust or otherwise) is that realists owe us — very roughly speaking — an account of how it is that we can have epistemic access to the normative truths about which they are realists. This chapter first distinguishes between many different ways of understanding this epistemological challenge to Robust Realism, then focusing on the strongest version of the challenge, namely, the need to explain the correlation between our normative beliefs and the independent normative truths (or else accept that there is no such correlation, and that skepticism about the normative is the way to do). After the challenge is clearly stated, a way of coping it is suggested. The way to explain the correlation is by resorting to a (godless) pre-established-harmony kind of explanation, one that utilizes some plausible evolutionary speculations. In a final section there is a preliminary discussion of the somewhat related problem of accommodating semantic access.

Keywords:   moral epistemology, Sharon Street, Paul Benacerraf, Hartry Field, skepticism, epistemic access, semantic access, pre-established harmony

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