Is there a supervenience problem for robust moral realism?
- 320 Downloads
The paper describes the problem for robust moral realism of explaining the supervenience of the moral on the non-moral, and examines five objections to the argument: (1) The moral does not supervene on the descriptive, because we may owe different obligations to duplicates. (2) If the supervenience thesis is repaired to block (1), it becomes trivial and easy to explain. (3) Supervenience is a moral doctrine and should get an explanation from within normative ethics rather than metaethics. (4) Supervenience is a conceptual truth and should be explained by the nature of our concepts rather than by a metaphysical theory. (5) The moral does not supervene on the descriptive, because moral principles are not metaphysically necessary. It concludes that none of these objections is successful, so Robust Realists do have an explanatory debt to worry about.
KeywordsSupervenience Moral realism Non-naturalism
- Blackburn, S. (1971). Moral realism. In J. Casey (Ed.), Morality and moral reasoning: Five essays in ethics. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
- Blackburn, S. (1984a). Supervenience revisited. In I. Hacking (Ed.), Exercises in analysis: Essays by students of Casimir Lewy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Blackburn, S. (1984b). Spreading the word: Groundings in the philosophy of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Fine, K. (2002). The varieties of necessity. In T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Conceivability and possibility (pp. 253–281). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hare, R. M. (1952). The language of morals. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Hare, R. M. (1991). The language of morals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Nagel, T. (1993). Moral luck. In D. Statman (Ed.), Moral luck (pp. 141–166). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Stratton-Lake, P., & Hooker, B. (2006). Scanlon versus Moore on goodness. In T. Horgan & M. Timmons (Eds.), Metaethics after Moore (p. 149). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sturgeon, N. (2009). Doubts about the supervenience of the evaluative. Oxford Studies in Metaethics, 4, 53–92.Google Scholar