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Nietzsche and Contemporary Ethics$
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Simon Robertson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722212

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198722212.001.0001

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Error Theory and Naturalism

Error Theory and Naturalism

Chapter:
(p.39) 3 Error Theory and Naturalism
Source:
Nietzsche and Contemporary Ethics
Author(s):

Simon Robertson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198722212.003.0003

This is the first of two chapters examining Nietzsche’s attacks on morality’s foundational presuppositions. Presenting him as an error theorist about morality and its categoricity, the chapter distinguish two approaches to arguing for it: ‘metaphysical’ and ‘conceptual’. The rest of the present chapter considers his metaphysical arguments. These comprise naturalistically motivated arguments from queerness and best explanation against the existence of metaphysically robust, categoricity-conferring, moral properties. Such arguments are standard antirealist fare; but they face significant problems. This motivates the need for an alternative approach, pursued in Ch.4. Nonetheless, the chapter shows that we can redeploy some of the same resources used in the earlier arguments to generate a series of challenges that together make it incumbent on the moralist to show there actually are categorical requirements.

Keywords:   best explanation, categoricity, error theory, morality, queerness

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