Moral realism according to Lovibond and Hauerwas

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 74 (4):343-360 (2013)
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Abstract

In her effort to recast moral realism in the style of the later Wittgensteinian philosophy of language, Sabina Lovibond seeks to ground moral knowledge in a historical community and its rules of language. In Stanley Hauerwas’ writings, we find an account of Christian ethics that is similarly modeled on Wittgensteinian realism. The main problem with Wittgensteinian moral realism, as it is appropriated by both Lovibond’s and Hauerwas’ society-dependent accounts of morality, is that they are unable to resolve difficult issues created by epistemic relativism. Both thinkers are vulnerable to epistemic relativism in two ways. First, with its contextualist approach to the justification of moral beliefs, their conception of moral realism makes any historical community the ultimate authority in all matters of morality. Second, their conception of moral realism also turns moral truth into a social property of a historical community, while denying the exclusive ownership of truth by one particular community.

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The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
Realism and reason.Hilary Putnam (ed.) - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Mind, Value, and Reality.John Henry McDowell - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Values and Secondary Qualities.John McDowell - 1985 - In Ted Honderich (ed.), Morality and objectivity: a tribute to J.L. Mackie. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 110-129.

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