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Moral Realism

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Moral Realism & the Challenge of Skepticism PHI 251 Introduction to Ethics Moral Realists Moral realists hold that things should be taken at face value. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Moral Realism


1
Moral Realism the Challenge of Skepticism
  • PHI 251
  • Introduction to Ethics

2
Moral Realists
  • Moral realists hold that things should be taken
    at face value.
  • Moral claims do purport to report facts and are
    true if they get the facts right.
  • Moral realists hold that some moral claims
    actually are true.

3
Moral Realism
  • Ethical sentences express propositions.
  • Some such propositions are true.
  • Those propositions are made true by objective
    features of the world, independent of subjective
    opinion.

4
  • Moral realism stands in opposition to all forms
    of moral anti-realism, including 
  • Ethical subjectivism (which denies that moral
    propositions refer to objective facts)
  • Error theory (which denies that any moral
    propositions are true)
  • Non-cognitivism (which denies that moral
    sentences express propositions at all).

5
American Philosopher Richard Boyd
  • Moral statements are the sorts of statements
    which are true or false
  • The truth or falsity of moral statements is
    largely independent of our moral opinions,
    theories, etc.
  • Ordinary canons of moral reasoningtogether with
    ordinary canons of scientific and everyday
    factual reasoningconstitute, under many
    circumstances at least, a reliable method for
    obtaining and improving moral knowledge

6
Moral Realism
  • Moral facts exist and are part of the fabric of
    the universe they exist independently of our
    thoughts about them.
  • 3 Main Elements
  • Objectivist Element
  • Cognitivist Element
  • Metaphysical Element

7
Objectivist Element
  • Moral principles have objective validity
  • and do not depend on social approval.
  • What theory says moral principles
  • depend upon social approval?

8
Cognitivist Element
  • Moral judgments can be evaluated as true or
    false.
  • The view that ethical sentences express 
  • propositions and can therefore be true or false.

9
Metaphysical Element
  • Moral facts exist in reality.
  • Metaphysics is concerned with explaining the
    features of reality that exist beyond the
    physical world and our immediate senses.

10
Types of Moral Realists
  • Theistic Moral Realists
  • Naturalistic Moral Realists
  • Nonnaturalistic Moral Realists

11
Theistic Moral Realists
  • Moral values exist within
  • Religion
  • Obedience
  • God
  • None of the above

12
Naturalistic Moral Realists
  • Moral values exist within the natural world and
    are connected with specific properties such as
    pleasure or satisfaction.
  • Pleasure and satisfaction are ______________
    facts within the universe

13
  • Ethical sentences express propositions.
  • Some such propositions are true.
  • Those propositions are made true by objective
    features of the world, independent of human
    opinion.
  • These moral features of the world can
    be reduced to some set of non-moral features.

14
Nonnaturalistic Moral Realists
  • They ground moral values in nonnatural facts
    about the worldfacts that cant be detected
    through scientific means.

15
Platos Cave
16
Non-naturalistic Moral Realism
  • To call goodness "non-natural" does not mean
    that it is supernatural or divine. It does mean,
    however, that goodness cannot be reduced to
    natural properties such as needs, wants or
    pleasures.  

17
J.L. Mackie
  • Moral Skepticism there are no objective moral
    facts. He says we have no good reason to believe
    that objective moral facts exist.
  • Error theory the assumption that claims to
    objective moral facts are false.

18
Mackies Three Arguments
  • Argument from Relativity
  • Argument from Queerness
  • Argument from Projection

19
Argument from Relativity
  • No universal moral code that all people
    everywhere adhere to, which seems to indicate
    that morality is culturally dependent.

20
Argument from Queerness
  • This aims at showing the implausibility of
    supposing that such things as values have no
    independent existence. If there were objective,
    then they would have to be of a very strange
    sort.
  • That everything including any particulars
    events, facts, properties, and so on is part of
    the natural physical world that science
    investigates

21
Argument from Projection
  • The belief in objective value is the result of
    psychological tendencies to project subjective
    beliefs to the outside world.
  • Hume we impose the notion of immorality from
    within our own feelings.
  • Mackie the pathetic fallacy, our tendency to
    read our feelings into their objects.

22
Inventing Morality
  • The Greek philosopher Xenophon said that
    religion is an invention, the making of God in
    the image of ones own group.
  • Mackie We need morality to regulate
    interpersonal relations, to control some of the
    ways in which people behave towards one another,
    often in opposition to contrary inclinations. We
    therefore want our moral judgments to be
    authoritative for other agents as well as for
    ourselves objective validity would give them the
    authority required.

23
Moral Nihilism
  • The doctrine that there are no moral facts, no
    moral truths, and no moral knowledge.
  • Morality is simply an illusion nothing is ever
    right or wrong, ust or unjust, good or bad.
  • Some extreme nihilists have even suggested that
    morality is merely a superstitious remnant of
    religion.

24
In Defense of Moral Realism
  • 1. Pojman suggests arguments that promote
    happiness and reduce suffering.
  • 2. Not all truths or facts about the universe
    are empirically accounted for.
  • The law of identity p is p at the same time
    and in the same respect.

25
Supervenient Properties
  • Color is not in the object itself, but there is
    a causal relationship between the light rays and
    our perceptions. Similarly, moral properties may
    supervene, or emerge out of natural ones.
  • For example, badness is a supervenient property
    of the natural property of pain.
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