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Sentimental RulesOn the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgement$
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Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169348

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195169344.001.0001

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Commonsense Objectivism and the Persistence of Moral Judgment

Commonsense Objectivism and the Persistence of Moral Judgment

Chapter:
(p.166) 8 Commonsense Objectivism and the Persistence of Moral Judgment
Source:
Sentimental Rules
Author(s):

Shaun Nichols

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195169344.003.0008

Many philosophers maintain that common sense is committed to a kind of moral objectivism. This chapter exploits recent empirical work to defend this claim. The chapter also maintains that the account of moral judgment developed in the volume contributes to a familiar Humean argument against moral objectivism. However, even if the commonsense commitment to moral objectivity is wrong, that does not immediately lead to an “error theory” according to which all commonsense moral judgments are false since they all presuppose objectivity. Rather, there are fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind that need to be settled before we can determine whether error theory follows. In any case, recent evidence suggests that many of the central characteristics of moral judgment can be preserved in the absence of a commitment to objectivity.

Keywords:   error theory, moral/conventional distinction, moral objectivism, relativism, response dependence, John Mackie

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