Error Theory, Unbelievability and the Normative Objection

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (2) (2019)
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Abstract

One of the most formidable challenges to the Error Theory is the Normative Objection, according to which the Error Theory ought to be rejected because of its deeply implausible first-order normative implications. Recently, Bart Streumer has offered a novel and powerful defence of the Error Theory against this objection. Streumer argues that the Error Theory’s plausibility deficit when viewed against the background of our normative beliefs does not show the theory’s falsity. Rather, it can be explained by the fact that this theory, though true, cannot be believed. In this paper, I argue that Streumer’s defence does not succeed. I show that, even if we grant Streumer that we cannot believe the Error Theory, we can still formulate what I call the Undermining Normative Objection, an argument that proceeds only from believable premises to a believable conclusion and shows that the arguments supporting the Error Theory cannot all be sound.

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Daniele Bruno
Humboldt University, Berlin

References found in this work

On Believing the Error Theory.Alexander Hyun & Eric Sampson - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (11):631-640.
Belief and the Error Theory.Andrew T. Forcehimes & Robert B. Talisse - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):849-856.

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