Philosophical Studies

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 215–234

Indeterminacy and variability in meta-ethics


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-008-9220-6

Cite this article as:
Gill, M.B. Philos Stud (2009) 145: 215. doi:10.1007/s11098-008-9220-6


In the mid-20th century, descriptive meta-ethics addressed a number of central questions, such as whether there is a necessary connection between moral judgment and motivation, whether moral reasons are absolute or relative, and whether moral judgments express attitudes or describe states of affairs. I maintain that much of this work in mid-20th century meta-ethics proceeded on an assumption that there is good reason to question. The assumption was that our ordinary discourse is uniform and determinate enough to vindicate one side or the other of these meta-ethical debates. I suggest that ordinary moral discourse may be much less uniform and determinate than 20th century meta-ethics assumed.


Meta-ethics Internalism Externalism Michael Smith R.M. Hare David Brink 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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