An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics

An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics

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This introduction provides a highly readable critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth--century and contemporary metaethics. It traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non--naturalism, cognitivism and non--cognitivism. * A highly readable critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth century and contemporary metaethics. * Asks: Are there moral facts? Is there such a thing as moral truth? Is moral knowledge possible? * Traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent debates between naturalism and non--naturalism, cognitivism and noncognitivism. * Provides for the first time a critical survey of famous figures in twentieth century metaethics such as Moore, Ayer and Mackie together with in--depth discussions of contemporary philosophers such as Blackburn, Gibbard, Wright, Harman, Railton, Sturgeon, McDowell and Wiggins.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 150 x 226 x 26mm | 498.95g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 074562345X
  • 9780745623450
  • 434,115

Review quote

"An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics provides for the first time a critical survey of famous figures in 20th Century metaethics together with in--depth discussions of contemporary philosophers and will be an invaluable resource for students, teachers and professional philosophers with interests in contemporary metaethics." Philosophical Inquiry "In this book Alexander Miller, an established expert in moral philosophy, provides a concise, clear and insightful account of the central issues of metaethics. He manages to make these difficult issues accessible to those who are new to this area of philosophy, while offering original contributions to the debates that will be of interest to experts in the field. This is an engaging and accomplished introductory work." Philip Stratton--Lake, University of Reading "Miller's book is ambitious, lucid, and comprehensive -- an extremely useful and detailed study of the field. I wish it had been available when I taught my graduate seminar in moral realism, for it would have made an excellent reference work throughout the course -- both for its clear exposition and its rigorous critical perspectives. I recommend it to all serious students of metaethics." John Corvino, Wayne State Universityshow more

Back cover copy

"An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics" provides a highly readable critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth-century and contemporary metaethics. It traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and non-cognitivism. Individual chapters deal with: the open-question arguments and Moore's attack on ethical naturalism; A. J. Ayer's emotivism and the rejection of non-naturalism; Simon Blackburn's quasi-realism; Allan Gibbard's norm-expressivism; J. L. Mackie's 'error-theory' of moral judgement; anti-realist and best opinion accounts of moral truth; the non-reductionist naturalism of the 'Cornell realists'; Peter Railton's naturalistic reductionism; the analytic functionalism of Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit; the contemporary non-naturalism of John McDowell and David Wiggins; and the debate between internalists and externalists in moral psychology. The book will be an invaluable resource for students, teachers and professional philosophers with interests in contemporary metaethics.show more

About Alex Miller

Alexander Miller is senior lecturer at Macquarie University, Sydney. He is the author of Philosophy of Language (1998) and co--editor (with Crispin Wright) of Rule--Following and Meaning (2002), as well as a number of articles on the philosophy of language and mind, metaphysics and metaethics.show more

Table of contents

Preface. Part I: Introduction:. 1. What is Metaethics?. 2. Cognitivism and Non--Cognitivism. 3. Strong Cognitivism: Naturalism. 4. Strong Cognitivism: Non--Naturalism. 5. Strong Cognitivism without Moral Realism: Mackie's 'Error--Theory'. 6. Weak Cognitivism about Morals without Moral Realism: 'Best Opinion' Theories. 7. Non--Cognitivism. 8. Internalism and Externalism, Humeanism and Anti--Humeanism. 9. Flowchart of Main Metaethical Theories. 10. Further Reading. Part II: Moore's Attack on Ethical Naturalism:. 11. Moore's Strong Cognitivism and Account of 'Natural'. 12. Moore on 'natural'. 13. Was Moore a strong cognitivist?. 14. The Naturalistic Fallacy and the Classical Open--Question Argument. 15. Three Objections to the Classical Open--Question Argument. 16. Frankena's objection. 17. The 'no interesting analyses' objection. 18. The 'sense--reference' objection. 19. Can the Open--Question Argument be Salvaged?. 20. Baldwin's 'open--question' argument. 21. Darwall, Gibbard and Railton's 'open--question' argument. 22. Further Reading. Part III: Emotivism and the Rejection of Non--Naturalism:. 23. Introduction to Ayer's Emotivism. 24. Ayer's Argument against Non--Naturalism. 25. Some Better Objections to Non--Naturalism. 26. The a priori supervenience of the moral on the natural. 27. The role of perception in moral deliberation. 28. Non--naturalism and moral motivation. 29. Epistemological bankruptcy. 30. Clarificatory Comments on Emotivism. 31. Metaphysical and epistemological solvency. 32. Emotivism and subjectivism. 33. Emotivism and the 'speech--act fallacy'. 34. Four Problems for Emotivism. 35. The implied error problem. 36. The Frege--Geach problem. 37. The problem of the schizoid attitude. 38. The problem of mind--dependence. 39. The Moral Attitude Problem and the Open--Question Argument Revisited. 40. The implicit elimination of moral judgement. 41. Emotivism and the open--question argument. 42. Further Reading. Part IV: Blackburn's Quasi--Realism:. 43. Introduction. 44. Blackburn's Arguments for Projectivism. 45. Metaphysical and epistemological solvency. 46. Supervenience and the ban on mixed worlds. 47. Moral judgement and motivation. 48. Blackburn's Response to the Frege--Geach Problem. 49. The Central Objection to Blackburn's Solution to the Frege--Geach Problem. 50. Commitment--Theoretic Semantics and the Frege--Geach Problem. 51. How Compelling is the Central Objection?. 52. Situation 1. 53. Situation 2. 54. Situation 3. 55. Situation 4. 56. Blackburn's Response to the Problem of Mind--Dependence. 57. Zangwill's objection to Blackburn. 58. Ambitious Quasi--Realism and the Construction of Moral Truth. 59. McDowell on Projection and Truth in Ethics. 60. Quasi--Realism and the Moral Attitude Problem. 61. Emotional ascent. 62. Stable sentiment. 63. Higher--order sentiment. 64. Further Reading. Part V: Gibbard's Norm--Expressivism:. 65. Norm--Expressivism Introduced. 66. The Frege--Geach Problem Revisited. 67. Gibbard's Solution to the Frege--Geach Problem. 68. Comments and Objections. 69. Blackburn's objections. 70. Ambiguity and logical operators. 71. Mind--Independence. 72. Gibbard and the moral attitude problem. 73. Norm--expressivism and the normativity of norms. 74. Further Reading. Part VI: Mackie's 'Error--Theory' and the Argument from Queerness:. 75. Introduction. 76. Error--Theories, Cognitivism and the Rejection of Moral Realism. 77. An Example of an Error--Theory: Locke on Colour. 78. Mackie's Conceptual Claim. 79. The Argument from Queerness. 80. Wright's Objection to the Error--Theory. 81. Responding to the Argument from Queerness. 82. Dispositionalism as a Response to the Error--Theory about Colour. 83. Further Reading. Part VII: 'Best Opinion' Accounts of Moral Qualities:. 84. Introduction. 85. Judgement--Dependence and Judgement--Independence. 86. Colours are Judgement--Dependent. 87. Shapes are Not Judgement--Dependent. 88. Moral Qualities are Not Judgement--Dependent. 89. Conclusion. 90. Further Reading. Part VIII: Naturalism 1: Cornell Realism:. 91. Introduction. 92. Harman's Challenge. 93. Sturgeon's Reply to Harman. 94. Reductionism and non--reductionism. 95. Sturgeon's examples of explanatorily efficacious moral facts. 96. Where Harman goes wrong. 97. More on Harman and Sturgeon. 98. Program Explanation. 99. Vindicatory Explanation. 100. Copp on Explanation and Justification in Ethics. 101. Moral Twin--Earth, Hostages to Fortune, and the Revived Open--Question Argument. 102. Moral Program Explanation Evaluated. 103. Vindicatory Explanation Evaluated. 104. Further Reading. Part IX: Naturalism 2: Reductionism:. 105. Methodological Naturalism and Substantive Naturalism. 106. Hegemonic and Non--Hegemonic Naturalism. 107. Varieties of Revisionism. 108. Tolerable Revisionism and Vindicative Reductionism. 109. Railton's Realist Account of Non--Moral Value. 110. Railton's Account of Moral Rightness. 111. Generality. 112. Humanization. 113. Patterns of variation. 114. Wiggins on Substantive Naturalism. 115. Problems for the Full--Information Analysis of Non--Moral Value. 116. Problem (a). 117. Problem (b). 118. Problem (c). 119. Problem (d). 120. Response to problem (a). 121. Response to problem (b). 122. Response to problem (c). 123. Response to problem (d). 124. nternalism and Externalism in Moral Psychology. 125. Rationalism and Anti--Rationalism. 126. Analytic Moral Functionalism and the 'Permutation Problem'. 127. A Reply to the Permutation Problem. 128. Conclusion. 129. Further Reading. Part X: Contemporary Non--Naturalism: McDowell's Moral Realism:. 130. 'DisentanSgling' and the Argument against Non--Cognitivism. 131. Second Nature. 132. Secondary Qualities, Cognitive Access and Working from Within. 133. Humean and Anti--Humean Theories of Motivation. 134. Scientism, Curiosity and the 'Metaphysical Understanding'. 135. Further ReadingChapter 1 Introduction. Appendix: Sense, Reference, Semantic Value and Truth--Conditions. Notes. References. Indexshow more

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