Moral Error Theory and the Argument from Epistemic Reasons

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (1):1-24 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this paper I defend what I call the argument from epistemic reasons against the moral error theory. I argue that the moral error theory entails that there are no epistemic reasons for belief and that this is bad news for the moral error theory since, if there are no epistemic reasons for belief, no one knows anything. If no one knows anything, then no one knows that there is thought when they are thinking, and no one knows that they do not know everything. And it could not be the case that we do not know that there is thought when we believe that there is thought and that we do not know that we do not know everything. I address several objections to the claim that the moral error theory entails that there are no epistemic reasons for belief. It might seem that arguing against the error theory on the grounds that it entails that no one knows anything is just providing a Moorean argument against the moral error theory. I show that even if my argument against the error theory is indeed a Moorean one, it avoids Streumer's, McPherson's and Olson's objections to previous Moorean arguments against the error theory and is a more powerful argument against the error theory than Moore's argument against external world skepticism is against external world skepticism.

Similar books and articles

The Error In 'The Error In The Error Theory'.Richard Joyce - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):519-534.
Can We Believe the Error Theory?Bart Streumer - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (4):194-212.
In defence of error theory.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):209-230.
Taking the ‘Error’ Out of Ruse‘s Error Theory.James A. Ryan - 1997 - Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):385-397.
Hybridizing Moral Expressivism and Moral Error Theory.Toby Svoboda - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (1):37-48.
The error in the error theory.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
Moral Error Theory and the Problem of Evil.Chris Daly - 2009 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (2):89 - 105.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-02-20

Downloads
4,177 (#1,467)

6 months
334 (#6,157)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Rach Cosker-Rowland
University of Leeds

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Knowledge and Its Place in Nature.Hilary Kornblith & Jonathan E. Adler - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216):479-482.

View all 13 references / Add more references