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From Morality to MetaphysicsThe Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments$
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Angus Ritchie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199652518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652518.001.0001

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Alternatives to Realism

Alternatives to Realism

Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard

(p.69) 3 Alternatives to Realism
From Morality to Metaphysics

Angus Ritchie

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates the theory of ethics developed by Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard. It argues that their ‘moral quasi-realism’ cannot vindicate the fundamental ethical commitments which were defended in Chapter 1. Either it must say that our current sentiments fix moral truth (whoever ‘we’ are deemed to be) or they must allow that the truth could be different from what we now think. The chapter argues that neither alternative is acceptable: the former position rules out future moral progress (‘emancipatory changes’), whereas the latter (in the absence of any notion of a more objective order of reason) re-opens the door to the very kind of morally obnoxious counterfactuals quasi-realism was designed to avoid.

Keywords:   quasi-realism, expressivism, subjectivism, counter-factuals, Blackburn, Gibbard

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