Thomas Pölzler, Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences [Book Review]

International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 11 (1):78-86 (2019)
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Abstract

Thomas Pölzler’s book offers the first detailed study that focuses explicitly on the promise of science-based arguments for and against moral realism (of both the natural and non-natural kind). His two central claims are that sound arguments bearing on the realism/anti-realism debate are possible, and, yet, that four central attempts to derive metaethical conclusions from science-based arguments uniformly fail. The book then provides several recommendations for future science-based contributions to the realism/anti-realism debate to do better. The book is a valuable and thought-provoking contribution to experimental metaethics and, in particular, to debates surrounding experimental studies of folk-moral realism, where it provides an insightful and handy guide to the field. In what follows, I briefly lay out the book’s main arguments, focusing on Pölzler’s assessment of existing science-based arguments, along with some critical remarks, before providing a broader evaluation.

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Michael Klenk
Delft University of Technology

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