Archimedean metaethics defended

Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):508-529 (2008)
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Abstract: We sometimes say our moral claims are "objectively true," or are "right, even if nobody believes it." These additional claims are often taken to be staking out metaethical positions, representative of a certain kind of theorizing about morality that "steps outside" the practice in order to comment on its status. Ronald Dworkin has argued that skepticism about these claims so understood is not tenable because it is impossible to step outside such practices. I show that externally skeptical metaethical theory can withstand his attacks, thereby defending the possibility of this kind of metatheoretical method and showing that the additional objectivity claims still make sense as external claims. Four interpretations of the additional objectivity claims can still be understood externally: as secondary properties, as arguing for some form of causal correspondence, as explaining error, and under Blackburn's expressivism. In the end, Dworkin's argument can be turned against itself.



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Kenneth M. Ehrenberg
University of Surrey

Citations of this work

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References found in this work

Truth and objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Law’s Empire.Ronald Dworkin - 1986 - Harvard University Press.
Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning.Simon Blackburn - 1998 - New York: Oxford University Press UK.
Consequences of Pragmatism: Essays 1972-1980.Richard Rorty - 1982 - University of Minnesota Press.

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