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Res Publica

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 283–301 | Cite as

Naturalistic Moral Realism and Moral Disagreement: David Copp’s Account

  • Mark Hanin
Winner of the 2011 Postgraduate Essay Prize

Abstract

To enhance the plausibility of naturalistic moral realism, David Copp develops an argument from epistemic defeaters aiming to show that strongly a priori synthetic moral truths do not exist. In making a case for the non-naturalistic position, I locate Copp’s account within the wider literature on peer disagreement; I identify key points of divergence between Copp’s doctrine and conciliatorist doctrines; I introduce the notion of ‘minimal moral competence’; I contend that some plausible benchmarks for minimal moral competence are grounded in substantive moral considerations; and I discuss two forms of spinelessness that Copp’s moral naturalism could result in.

Keywords

Moral naturalism Moral non-naturalism Moral disagreement David Copp Naturalizing ethics Minimal moral competence Conciliatorism Ethical anti-Archimedeanism 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Robert Audi, David Christensen, Frank Jackson, Matthew Kramer, Gerald Lang, Hallvard Lillehammer, and an anonymous referee for Res Publica for helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Churchill CollegeCambridgeUK

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