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METAETHICS

OXFORD BIBLIOGRAPHIES ONLINE RESEARCH GUIDE


Alex Miller
University of Birmingham
2011 by Oxford University Press, Inc.
ISBN: 9780199808960

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
General Overviews
Textbooks and Anthologies
Surveys
Reference Works and Online Resources
Moore and the Open Question Argument
Intuitionism and Non-Naturalism
Expressivism
Emotivism
Prescriptivism
Quasi-Realism
Norm-Expressivism
Minimalism and Expressivism
Objections and Alternatives to Expressivism
Error Theory and Moral Fictionalism
Error Theory
Moral Fictionalism
Response Dependence
Constructivism
Non-Reductive Naturalism (Cornell Realism)
Moral Twin Earth
Reductive Naturalist Realism
Railtons Reductive Naturalism
Analytic Moral Functionalism
Contemporary Non-Naturalism
Wiggins and McDowell
Moral Particularism
Moral Psychology
Internalism and Externalism
Rationalism and Anti-Rationalism
The Humean Theory of Motivation
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INTRODUCTION
Metaethics can be described as the philosophical study of the nature of moral
judgment. It is concerned with such questions as: Do moral judgments express
beliefs or rather desires and inclinations? Are moral judgments apt to be assessed
in terms of truth and falsity? Do moral sentences have factual meaning? Are any
moral judgments true or are they systematically and uniformly false? Is there such
a thing as moral knowledge? Are moral judgments less objective than, say,
judgments about the shapes and sizes of middle-sized physical objects? Is there a
necessary connection between moral judgments and motivation? Are moral
requirements requirements of reason? Do moral judgments have a natural or nonnatural subject matter?
A useful way of starting on metaethics is to distinguish between realist and nonrealist views of morality. Moral realists hold that moral judgments express beliefs,
and that some of those beliefs are true in virtue of mind-independent moral facts.
Opposition to moral realism can take a number of forms. Expressivists deny that
moral judgments express beliefs, claiming instead that they express non truthassessable mental states such as desires or inclinations. Error theorists and
fictionalists claim that moral judgments are systematically false. Responsedependence views of moral judgments allow that moral judgments express beliefs
and that at least some of them are true, but hold that they are true in virtue of
mind-dependent moral facts. Moral realism itself comes in many varieties:
reductionist, non-reductionist, naturalist, non-naturalist, internalist, externalist,
analytic, and synthetic.

GENERAL OVERVIEWS
Overviews of metaethics are often found in larger reference works about ethics.
The volumes listed in this section contain a broad range of high-level introductory
essays by key researchers in metaethics. Singer 1991 is an overview of ethics in
different cultures and historical settings before moving into theories and practical
applications. LaFollette 2000 has a section on metaethics that includes essays on
relativism, naturalism, moral intuition, and objections to ethics. Copp 2007
devotes the first half of the book to issues surrounding metaethics. Skorupski 2010
devotes a section to these issues as well, including error theory and fictionalism.
Copp, David, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2007.
The first half contains twelve essays on metaethical themes by Blackburn,
Railton, Sturgeon, Dancy and others, as well as an introductory essay by the
editor.

LaFollette, Hugh, ed. The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. Oxford:


Blackwell, 2000.
The first half contains eight useful introductory chapters on metaethical themes.
Singer, Peter, ed. A Companion to Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.
Part 4 contains several very useful chapters on metaethical themes by leading
metaethicists such as Dancy, Smith, and Hare.
Skorupski, John, ed. The Routledge Companion to Ethics. London:
Routledge, 2010.
Part 2 contains several essays on some central topics in metaethics.

TEXTBOOKS AND ANTHOLOGIES


McNaughton 1988, Darwall 1997, and Miller 2003 are the best available survey
texts, while Smith 1994 can serve as one. The serious student would get a sound
grounding by reading one or more of these, supplemented by readings from
Darwall, et al. 1997, Fisher and Kirchin 2006, and/or Shafer-Landau and Cuneo
2006. Dreier 2006 is probably the most advanced of the volumes.
Darwall, Stephen. Philosophical Ethics: An Historical
Contemporary Introduction. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.

and

The first half is a very useful introduction to metaethical themes, while the
second half looks at historical philosophers such as Kant, Aristotle, Mill, and
Nietzsche.
Darwall, Stephen, Allan Gibbard, and Peter Railton, eds. Moral
Discourse and Practice: Some Philosophical Approaches. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1997.
A selection of twenty-three high-level papers and chapters from 20th-century
metaethics. Contains many of the papers referred to in this bibliography.
Dreier, James, ed. Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory. Malden,
MA: Blackwell, 2006.
Contains five pairs of articles (generally taking distinct perspectives) on reason
and motivation, and moral facts and explanations.
Fisher, Andrew, and Simon Kirchin, eds. Arguing about Metaethics.
London: Routledge, 2006.

A comprehensive collection of key papers and chapters in recent metaethics.


Also contains excellent editorial introductions to each of the main themes
covered by the selections.
McNaughton, David. Moral Vision: An Introduction to Ethics. Oxford:
Blackwell, 1988.
A good introduction, written from a particularist and non-naturalist perspective.
Miller, Alexander. An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics.
Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2003.
A critical overview of metaethics from 1903 onwards, with chapters on Moore,
Ayer, Blackburn, Gibbard, response-dependence, Mackie, reductive and nonreductive naturalism, and the non-naturalism of McDowell and Wiggins.
Shafer-Landau, Russ, and Terence Cuneo, eds. Foundations of Ethics:
An Anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.
A comprehensive selection of key texts from 20th-century metaethics, together
with useful introductory commentary from the editors.
Smith, Michael. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
An influential monograph, so clearly written that it could serve as a high-level
introduction to much of the area.

SURVEYS
Included here are survey articles general enough to cover broad areas of
metaethical terrain. Darwall, et al. 1992 and Smith 1998 take off in their own ways
from Moore 1993 (cited under Moore and the Open Question Argument), while
Little 1994a, Little 1994b, Railton 1996, and Sayre-McCord 1986 structure their
overviews around moral realism. Wright 1996 comes at metaethics from the
general realism versus antirealism debate.
Darwall, Stephen, Allan Gibbard, and Peter Railton. Toward Fin de
Sicle Ethics: Some Trends. Philosophical Review 101 (1992): 115
189.
DOI: 10.2307/2185045
A magisterial survey covering the period 1903 to 1992, co-authored by three
philosophers with quite divergent metaethical views.

Little, Margaret. Moral Realism I: Naturalism. Philosophical Books


35 (1994a): 145153.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0149.1994.tb02417.x
A concise but very helpful survey of work in the (predominantly US) naturalist
realist tradition.
Little, Margaret. Moral Realism II: Non-Naturalism. Philosophical
Books 35 (1994b): 225233.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0149.1994.tb02885.x
A concise but very helpful survey of work in the (predominantly British) nonnaturalist realist tradition.
Railton, Peter Moral Realism: Problems and Prospects. In Moral
Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology. Edited by Walter
Sinnott-Armstrong and Mark Timmons, 4981. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1996.
Contains an extremely useful progressive taxonomy of realism together with a
nice flowchart.
Sayre-McCord, Geoffrey. The Many Moral Realisms. Southern Journal
of Philosophy 24 (1986): 122.
A useful overview but with a somewhat unrefined conception of moral realism.
Smith, Michael. Ethics and the A Priori: A Modern Parable.
Philosophical Studies 92 (1998): 149174.
DOI: 10.1023/A:1017132222454
A hilarious survey of some main metaethical concerns, set around a lunchtime
discussion between a salad-eating cognitivist (Cog) and a fish-and-chip-eating
non-cognitivist (Noncog).
Wright, Crispin. Truth in Ethics. In Truth in Ethics. Edited by Brad
Hooker, 118. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
A refined survey that explores the possibility of non-expressivist and non-errortheoretic forms of opposition to moral realism.

REFERENCE WORKS AND ONLINE RESOURCES


Online resources generally are of uneven quality, but the two listed here (PEA Soup
and Ethics Etc.) can be recommended. The Oxford Studies in Metaethics series

(Schafer-Landau 2006) has rapidly established itself as one of the leading regular
publications specializing in metaethics. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is
a comprehensive resource for all areas within the field. Lenmans Bibliography of
Metaethics is a useful tool, listing sources alphabetically by author.
A Bibliography of Metaethics
URL: (http://www.lenmanethicsbibliography.group.shef.ac.uk/Bib.htm).
A useful and extensive bibliography maintained by Sheffield philosopher James
Lenman.
Ethics Etc
URL: (http://ethics-etc.com/about/).
Features useful posts on metaethics within a forum for contemporary
philosophical issues in ethics.
PEA Soup
URL: (http://peasoup.typepad.com/peasoup/).
Founded in 2004, this blog includes a section dedicated to metaethics, with
posts from many leading metaethicists.
Schafer-Landau, Russ, ed. Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2006.
Published annually, each volume contains high quality cutting-edge work on
metaethics.
Zalta, Edward N., ed. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
URL: (http://plato.stanford.edu/). Stanford, CA: Stanford University.
Contains many generally excellent entries on metaethical issues and themes.

MOORE AND THE OPEN QUESTION ARGUMENT


In many ways, Moore 1993 (originally published in 1903) can be regarded as the
foundational document of 20th century and contemporary metaethics. Moores
open question argument purported to show that good could not be conceptually
equivalent to any predicatesuch as maximizes happinessreferring to a natural
property, so that moral judgments could not be viewed as expressing beliefs about
the instantiation of natural facts. The argument was hugely influential in the 20th
century, initially pushing philosophers in the direction of non-naturalism (the view
that moral judgments express beliefs about non-natural facts) or emotivism (the

view that moral judgments express emotions or feelings rather than beliefs). The
argument gradually fell into disrepute, but it continues to exert an influence on
contemporary metaethics, with philosophers now viewing it not as aspiring to
refute naturalism but rather to highlight features of moral judgment that
naturalism must accommodate (Snare 1975, Baldwin 1993, Darwall, et al. 1992).
Baldwin, Thomas. G. E. Moore: Selected Writings. London: Routledge,
1993.
Chapter 3 surveys the fortunes of the open question argument and attempts to
salvage a version of the argument less ambitious than Moores.
Darwall, Steven, Allan Gibbard, and Peter Railton. Toward Fin de
Sicle Ethics: Some Trends. Philosophical Review 101 (1992): 115
189.
DOI: 10.2307/2185045
Section 1 provides a useful summary of how Moores argument influenced 20thcentury metaethics, and there is an attempt to salvage a version of the
argument that purports only to pose a challenge for naturalism.
Frankena, W. K. The Naturalistic Fallacy. Mind 48 (1939): 464477.
A classic paper containing a rich and many-layered critique of Moores open
question argument. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks
and Anthologies), pp. 4758.
Horgan, Terry, and Mark Timmons, eds. Metaethics after Moore.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Sixteen papers, many by leading metaethicists, exploring Moores impact on
20th-century and contemporary metaethics.
Moore, G. E. Principia Ethica. Rev. ed. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
The opening chapter, The Subject-Matter of Ethics, contains the classic
statement of the open question argument. Baldwins editorial introduction
contains some very useful commentary.
Smith, Michael. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
Chapter 2 contains a concise summary of standard objections to the open
question argument.
Snare, Frank. The Open Question as Linguistic Test. Ratio 17 (1975):
122129.

A very useful discussion suggesting that the open question argument can be
used to test naturalist accounts of the meaning of moral expressions. Reprinted
in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 5965.
Wellman, Christopher H., ed. Centenary Symposium on G. E. Moores
Principia Ethica. Special issue, Ethics 113 (2003).
A special issue of Ethics containing papers by several leading contemporary
philosophers.

INTUITIONISM AND NON-NATURALISM


In the wake of the (apparent) refutation of ethical naturalism in Moores Principia
Ethica, philosophers such as Prichard and Ross (see Dancy 1991) embraced
intuitionism, a view that in general could be described as holding that basic
moral judgments and basic moral principles are justified by the noninferential
deliverances of a rational intuitive faculty (Audi 1996), a faculty capable of
yielding access to non-natural moral facts. The view, accused by its detractors of
metaphysical and epistemological bankruptcy, fell into disrepute and was
overtaken by expressivist views starting with emotivism. Non-naturalism eventually
returned to the philosophical mainstream in the final quarter of the 20th century
with the work of Wiggins, McDowell, and Dancy.
Audi, Robert. Intuitionism, Pluralism, and the Foundations of Ethics.
In Moral Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology. Edited by
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Mark Timmons, 101136. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1996.
An attempt by a distinguished epistemologist to show that intuitionism is a
more serious metaethical contender than is usually thought.
Dancy, Jonathan. Intuitionism. In A Companion to Ethics. Edited by
Peter Singer, 411420. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.
A short survey, placing the non-naturalistic intuitionism of Prichard and Ross in
the context of metaethics in the last quarter of the 20th century.
Ridge, Michael. Moral Non-Naturalism
URL: (http://www.seop.leeds.ac.uk/entries/moral-non-naturalism/). In
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2008.
An excellent survey, starting with a critique of Moore.

Smith, Michael. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.


Section 2.4 argues that non-naturalistic intuitionism fails because it cannot
account for the a priori supervenience of the moral on the natural.
Stratton-Lake, Philip., ed. Ethical Intuitionism: Re-evaluations.
Oxford: Clarendon, 2002.
A number of leading metaethicists examine whether intuitionism can add
anything genuine and substantial to our understanding of morality.
Warnock, G. J. Contemporary Moral Philosophy. London: Macmillan,
1967.
Contains a standard critique of non-naturalism.

EXPRESSIVISM
One way of avoiding both the challenge posed to naturalism by the open-question
argument as well as the metaphysical and epistemological extravagances of nonnaturalism involves denying that moral sentences are in the business of purporting
to represent facts. There are various forms, including emotivism, prescriptivism,
quasi-realism, and norm-expressivism.

Emotivism
Emotivism is the view that moral judgments express emotions, feelings, or
sentiments, and are thus not assessable in terms of truth and falsity. Ayer 1946
contains a polemical statement of the view as part of a statement of logical
positivism. According to Ayer, moral disagreements consist in clashes of inclination
and are thus, at bottom, not rationally resolvable. Stevenson 1966 and Stevenson
1944 provide a more careful and pedestrian defense of the view. Kivy 1980 and
Kivy 1992 compare emotivism about moral judgment with emotivism about
aesthetic judgment, while Miller 1998 argues that an extension of the logical
positivists verification principle pushes emotivism in the direction of moral
nihilism.
Ayer, Alfred J. Language, Truth and Logic. 2d ed. London: Gollancz,
1946.
Chapter 6, A Critique of Ethics and Theology, is a classic and concise statement
of emotivism. The long introduction to the 1946second edition contains some
important qualifications.

Kivy, Peter. A Failure of Aesthetic Emotivism. Philosophical Studies


38 (1980): 351365.
DOI: 10.1007/BF00419335
One of two unjustly neglected papers arguing that emotivism is less plausible in
the aesthetic case than in the moral case.
Kivy, Peter. Oh Boy! You Too! Aesthetic Emotivism Rexamined. In
The Philosophy of A. J. Ayer. Edited by Lewis Edwin Hahn, 309328. La
Salle, IL: Open Court, 1992.
Along with Kivy 1980, this paper usefully brings out crucial aspects of the
emotivist view of the function of moral judgment.
Miller, Alexander. Emotivism and the Verification Principle.
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1998): 103124.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9264.00027
Argues that an extended version of the verification principle that originally
motivated emotivism can be used to undermine it.
Stevenson, C. L. Ethics and Language. New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 1944.
An extended treatment of the themes discussed in Stevenson 1966.
Stevenson, C. L. The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms. Reprinted in
Logical Positivism. Edited by A. J. Ayer, 264281. New York: Free Press,
1966.
Originally published in Mind in 1937, this paper sets out a form of emotivism
subtler than that of Ayer 1946.

Prescriptivism
Prescriptivism is a form of expressivism according to which moral claims express
prescriptions or imperatives. The principle defender of the view was R. M. Hare
(Hare 2003a, Hare 2003b, Hare 1981). Hares prescriptivismunlike emotivism
attempts to show that ethical arguments can be underpinned by reason. Geach
1960 and Geach 1965 raise a difficulty for expressivist viewsincluding
prescriptivismthat contemporary expressivists such as Blackburn and Gibbard
have expended much energy in attempting to solve. (See also Quasi-Realism and
Norm-Expressivism.)
Geach, Peter. Ascriptivism. Philosophical Review 69 (1960): 221
225.

DOI: 10.2307/2183506
Usually read alongside Geach 1965, this paper attempts to refute ascriptivism.
Geach, Peter. Assertion. Philosophical Review 74 (1965): 449465.
DOI: 10.2307/2183123
Along with Geach 1960, this paper argues that expressivist views of moral
expressions cannot account for the use of moral sentences within unasserted
contexts such as the antecedents of conditions. The Frege-Geach problem, as
it has become known, has proved to be a thorn in the side for expressivist views
generally.
Hare, R. M. Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point. Oxford:
Clarendon, 1981.
Uses a distinction between two levels of moral thinking to develop, inter alia, a
utilitarian ethic that coheres with prescriptivism.
Hare, R. M. Universal Prescriptivism. In A Companion to Ethics.
Edited by Peter Singer, 451463. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.
A short and accessible version of Hares views on prescriptivism and competitor
accounts of the meanings of moral claims.
Hare, R. M. Sorting Out Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Includes a taxonomy of metaethical views including naturalism, intuitionism,
and emotivism.
Hare, R. M. The Language of Morals. Oxford: Clarendon, 2003a.
Hares first extended treatment of prescriptivism and the locus classicus for the
view.
Hare, R. M. Freedom and Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
2003b.
Builds on Hare 2003a, extending it to account for various kinds of moral
reasoning.

Quasi-Realism
Quasi-realism is a position developed by Simon Blackburn (Blackburn 1984,
Blackburn 1993, Blackburn 1998) from the 1970s onwards that attempts to
explain moral judgment using only materials congenial to projectivism (that moral
judgments are expressions of sentiments towards naturalnon-moralstates of

affairs and properties). In particular, quasi-realism argues that a projectivist view of


moral judgment can legitimate features of moral practice normally held to require
moral realism. Hale 1993 questions Blackburns approaches to the Frege-Geach
problem (also surveyed in Klbel 2002). McDowell 1981 and McDowell 1998
criticize Blackburn from a realist perspective, while Wright 1988 argues that quasirealism is not a plausible vehicle for opposition to moral realism.
Blackburn, Simon. Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy
of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984.
Chapters 5 and 6 present and defend quasi-realism.
Blackburn, Simon. Essays in Quasi-Realism. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1993.
A collection of Blackburns central articles on quasi-realism.
Blackburn, Simon. Ruling Passions. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1998.
Blackburns latest book-length defense of his metaethical views. Develops a
form of commitment-theoretic semantics as a solution to the Frege-Geach
problem.
Hale, Bob. Can There Be a Logic of Attitudes? In Reality,
Representation, and Projection. Edited by John Haldane and Crispin
Wright, 337363. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
A detailed critique of Blackburns various attempts to solve the Frege-Geach
problem.
Klbel, Max. Truth without Objectivity. London: Routledge, 2002.
Chapter 4 is a superbly clear commentary on the Frege-Geach problem.
McDowell,
John.
Non-Cognitivism
and
Rule-Following.
In
Wittgenstein: To Follow a Rule. Edited by Steven H. Holtzmann and
Christopher M. Leich, 141162. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1981.
Argues that quasi-realism presupposes a view of conceptual competence
undermined by Wittgensteins rule-following considerations. Blackburn has an
extended reply in the same volume.
McDowell, John. Projectivism and Truth in Ethics. Reprinted in Mind,
Value and Reality. Edited by John McDowell, 151166. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press 1998.

One of McDowells most clearly written papers. Argues that the Quasi-Realist
cannot explain moral judgment as the expression of sentiment. Reprinted in
Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 489502.
Wright, Crispin. Realism, Antirealism, Irrealism, Quasi-Realism.
Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1988): 2549.
A general survey of the debates between realists and their opponents containing
inter alia a critique of quasi-realism.

Norm-Expressivism
Allan Gibbard (independently) develops a view that in many ways is a close cousin
of Blackburns quasi-realism. Gibbard, like Blackburn, attempts to explain and
justify the realist-seeming features of our moral practice given only materials that
would be acceptable to a naturalist. According to Gibbard 1990, moral judgments
can be viewed as expressing acceptance of norms governing the permissibility of
feelings like guilt and impartial anger, while Gibbard 2003 develops the notion of
plan-laden thoughts as a vehicle for an expressivist account of normative
judgment. Blackburn 1992, Horwich 1993, Wedgewood 1997, and DArms and
Jacobson 1994 provide critical commentary from a range of different perspectives.
Blackburn, Simon. Gibbard on Normative Logic. Philosophy and
Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 947952.
DOI: 10.2307/2107920
A brief but very insightful critique of Gibbard from a philosopher very
sympathetic with his overall aims.
DArms, Justin, and Daniel Jacobson. Expressivism, Morality, and the
Emotions. Ethics 104 (1994): 739763.
DOI: 10.1086/293653
A critical discussion focussing on the role that sentiments such as guilt and
anger play within Gibbards norm-expressivism.
Gibbard, Allan. Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative
Judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.
A book-length development of norm-expressivism. Chapter 5 offers a novel and
ingenious solution of the Frege-Geach problem.
Gibbard, Allan. Thinking How to Live. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 2003.
Following on from Gibbard 1990, this book develops a sophisticated form of

expressivism according to which evaluative judgments express what Gibbard


calls planning states.
Horwich, Paul. Gibbards Theory of Norms. Philosophy and Public
Affairs 22 (1993): 6778.
A useful discussion that should be read in conjunction with the works cited
under Minimalism and Expressivism.
Wedgewood, Ralph. Non-Cognitivism, Truth, and Logic. Philosophical
Studies 86 (1997): 7391.
DOI: 10.1023/A:1017968816286
Very clear exposition and commentary, usefully brings out points of contrast
between Gibbards norm-expressivism and Blackburns quasi-realism.

Minimalism and Expressivism


If minimalism about the predicate true is the view that it does not refer to a
substantial property but is merely a linguistic device for making indirect or
compendious endorsements of assertions, does it undermine expressivist views of
moral judgment or is it rather a view that the expressivist can use to justify his or
her claim to capture features of moral discourse that seemingly require moral
realism? Smith 1994a, Smith 1994b, Jackson, et al. 1994, and Blackburn 1998
argue that minimalism is consistent with expressivism, while Divers and Miller
1994, Divers and Miller 1995, Horwich 1994, and Wright 1998 defend the opposing
view that minimalism undermines expressivism.
Blackburn, Simon. Wittgenstein, Wright, Rorty, and Minimalism.
Mind 107 (1998): 157181.
Includes criticism of the use of minimalism made by authors such as Wright.
Divers, John, and Alexander Miller. Why Expressivists about Value
Should Not Love Minimalism about Truth. Analysis 54 (1994): 1219.
DOI: 10.2307/3328097
A direct response to Smith 1994a. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited
under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 443442. This paper can usefully be read
in conjunction with the discussion of expressivism in Wright 1996 (cited under
Surveys).
Divers, John, and Alexander Miller. Platitudes and Attitudes: A
Minimalist Conception of Belief. Analysis 55 (1995): 3744.
DOI: 10.2307/3328618

A reply to Smith 1994b and Jackson, et al. 1994. Argues that minimalism about
truth-aptitude naturally generates a minimalist conception of belief.
Dreier, James. Meta-ethics and the Problem of Creeping Minimalism.
Philosophical Perspectives 18 (2006): 2344.
A good discussion of how the issue about minimalism threatens to undermine
the standard metaethical distinction between moral realism and views that
oppose it.
Horwich, Paul. The Essence of Expressivism. Analysis 54 (1994): 19
21.
DOI: 10.2307/3328098
Horwich argues that his own brand of minimalism motivates the reformulation
of expressivism as traditionally understood. This paper can usefully be read in
conjunction with Horwich 1993 (cited under Norm-Expressivism).
Jackson, Frank, Graham Oppy, and Michael Smith. Minimalism and
Truth Aptness. Mind 103 (1994): 287302.
DOI: 10.1093/mind/103.411.287
More argument along the lines of Smith 1994b. Includes a good discussion of
the difference between minimalism about truth and minimalism about truthaptitude.
Smith, Michael. Why Expressivists about Value Should Love
Minimalism about Truth. Analysis 54 (1994a): 111.
DOI: 10.2307/3328096
A wonderfully clear argument that expressivists can embrace rather than shun
minimalism. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and
Anthologies), pp. 423433.
Smith, Michael. Minimalism, Truth-Aptitude, and Belief. Analysis 54
(1994b): 2126.
DOI: 10.2307/3328099
A reply to Divers and Miller 1994 and Horwich 1994, exploiting platitudinous
links between the notions of truth-aptitude and belief.
Wright, Crispin. Comrades against Quietism: Reply to Simon
Blackburn on Truth and Objectivity. Mind 107 (1998): 183203.
DOI: 10.1093/mind/107.425.183
A reply to Blackburn 1998 that includes some discussion about the issue of
minimalism and expressivism.

Objections and Alternatives to Expressivism


Jackson and Pettit 1998, Cuneo 2006, Dorr 2002, and Smith 2001 all develop novel
objections to expressivism, while Ridge 2006 and Horgan and Timmons 2006
propose novel ways of developing expressivism.
Cuneo, Terence. Saying What We Mean: An Argument against
Expressivism. In Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Vol. 1. Edited by Russ
Schafer-Landau, 3571. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Argues against expressivism on the grounds that it is unable to accommodate
properly the illocutionary act intentions or ordinary moral agents.
Dorr, Cian. Non-cognitivism and Wishful Thinking. Nos 36 (2002):
97103.
Argues that expressivists must hold that it is irrational to infer the conclusion of
a moral modus ponens argument from its premises.
Horgan, Terry, and Mark Timmons. Morality without Moral Facts. In
Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory. Edited by James Dreier, 220
238. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
One of a series of recent papers in which Horgan and Timmons argue in favor of
cognitivist expressivism, a view on which moral judgments express nondescriptive beliefs.
Jackson, Frank, and Philip Pettit. A Problem for Expressivism.
Analysis 58 (1998): 239251.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8284.00128
Argues that expressivism must inevitably collapse into a form of subjectivist
cognitivism.
Ridge, Michael. Ecumenical Expressivism: Finessing Frege. Ethics
116 (2006): 302366.
DOI: 10.1086/498462
Develops a form of ecumenical expressivism, according to which moral
utterances express both beliefs and desires, and seeks to avoid thereby the
Frege-Geach problem.
Schroeder, Mark. Hybrid Expressivism: Virtues and Vices. Ethics 119
(2009): 257309.
DOI: 10.1086/597019
A state-of-the-art survey of views in the broad style of Ridge 2006.

Smith, Michael. Some Not-Much-Discussed Problems for NonCognitivism in Ethics. Ratio 14 (2001): 93115.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9329.00149
Suggests that the open-question argument, traditionally used by expressivists
against their realist opponents, might be adapted to attack expressivism itself.

ERROR THEORY AND MORAL FICTIONALISM


Both types of view attempt to avoid the Frege-Geach problem by rejecting
expressivism and embracing a factualist semantics for moral discourse. However,
they also attempt to avoid the need to postulate the existence of moral facts by
denying that moral statements are true.

Error Theory
While expressivism claims that moral judgments dont express beliefs and thus fail
to be truth-apt, error-theories view moral judgments as expressing beliefs and
moral sentences as genuinely descriptive. However, they avoid commitment to
moral factsand the attendant metaphysical and epistemological obligationsby
suggesting that all positive, atomic moral judgments and statements are
systematically and uniformly false. The classic statement of the error-theory in the
moral case can be found in Mackie 1977. McDowell 1985, Blackburn 1985, Brink
1984, Wright 1992, and Smith 1993 all offer critiques of Mackie, while Garner
defends Mackie against naturalistic moral realism.
Blackburn, Simon. Errors and the Phenomenology of Value. In
Morality and Objectivity: A Tribute to J. L. Mackie. Edited by Ted
Honderich, 122. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985.
Responds to McDowell 1985 regarding J. L. Mackie.
Brink, David O. Moral Realism and the Sceptical Arguments from
Disagreement and Queerness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62
(1984): 112225.
Argues that a naturalistic, externalist view of moral judgment can deflect
Mackies arguments for the error theory. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006
(cited under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 8095.
Garner, Richard T. On the Genuine Queerness of Moral Properties and
Facts. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (1990): 137146.
DOI: 10.1080/00048409012344161

Argues that Brinks externalist moral realism fails to deal adequately with
Mackies arguments for the error theory. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006
(cited under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 96106.
Mackie, J. D. Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. New York: Penguin,
1977.
The classic source of argumentssuch as the argument from queernessin
favor of an error theory of moral judgment.
McDowell, John. Values and Secondary Qualities. In Morality and
Objectivity: A Tribute to J. L. Mackie. Edited by Ted Honderich, 110
129. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985.
Offers a difficult but rewarding exchange of views with Blackburn 1985 on
Mackies error-theory, from realist and expressivist perspectives respectively.
Smith, Michael. Objectivity and Moral Realism: On the Significance of
the Phenomenology of Moral Experience. In Reality, Representation,
and Projection. Edited by John Haldane and Crispin Wright, 235255.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
A sophisticated but wonderfully clear discussion of Mackies error theory and
McDowells response in McDowell 1985. The paper by John Campbell (and
Smiths reply) in the same volume are worth a look for those interested in
exploring points of contact between metaethics and the philosophy of color.
Wright, Crispin. Truth and Objectivity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1992.
Chapter 1 contains an argument that error theories do not offer a plausible
vehicle for opposition to moral realism.

Moral Fictionalism
Moral fictionalism challenges the idea that factualism (the view that moral
sentences are descriptive) necessarily goes along with cognitivism (the view that
moral judgments express beliefs). Fictionalists propose forms of non-cognitivist
factualism about moral practice, according to which moral claims have genuine
truth-conditional content but are not used to express beliefs that those contents
are true (compare with the cognitivist non-factualism proposed by Horgan and
Timmons (see Horgan and Timmons 2006, cited under Objections and Alternatives
to Expressivism). By retaining the idea that moral sentences are factual, the
fictionalist attempts to avoid the Frege-Geach problem that causes such difficulty
for expressivism, but, by avoiding the idea that moral claims express true beliefs,
attempts to steer clear of commitment to moral facts. Moral fictionalism comes in

two main varieties: hermeneutic or descriptive fictionalism (Kalderon 2005a) and


revolutionary or revisionary fictionalism (Joyce 2001).
Eklund, Matti. Fictionalism
URL:
(http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/fictionalism/). In
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2007.
A useful survey of fictionalism in general with an extensive bibliography.
Hussain, Nadeem J. Z. The Return of Moral Fictionalism.
Philosophical Perspectives 18 (2004): 149187.
An attempt to deflate some of the pretensions of moral fictionalism.
Joyce, Richard. The Myth of Morality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 2001.
Develops a form of revolutionary moral fictionalism, a form of fictionalism that
recommends a reform of our actual moral practice.
Kalderon, Mark Eli. Moral Fictionalism. Oxford: Clarendon, 2005a.
An outline of a form of hermeneutic moral fictionalism, a form of fictionalism
that purports to be descriptive of our ordinary moral practice.
Kalderon, Mark Eli. Fictionalism in Metaphysics. Oxford: Clarendon,
2005b.
An excellent collection of articles on fictionalism, including an exchange
between Simon Blackburn and David Lewis on whether quasi-realism should be
viewed as a form of fictionalism.
Nolan, Daniel, Greg Restall, and Caroline West. Moral Fictionalism
versus the Rest. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2005): 307
330.
DOI: 10.1080/00048400500191917
A defense of a revisionary form of moral fictionalism.
Stanley, Jason. Hermeneutic Fictionalism. Midwest Studies in
Philosophy 25 (2001): 3671.
DOI: 10.1111/1475-4975.00039
Argues that hermeneutic fictionalism is not a viable strategy in ontology.

Yablo, Stephen. Go Figure: A Path through Fictionalism. Midwest


Studies in Philosophy 25 (2001): 72102.
DOI: 10.1111/1475-4975.00040
An exchange between two leading philosophers investigating the pros and cons
of fictionalism.

RESPONSE DEPENDENCE
Expressivists standardly deny that moral judgments express beliefs or that moral
sentences have truth-conditions. Those who hold response-dependent views of
morality retain the idea that moral judgments express beliefs or that moral
sentences have truth-conditions, but claim that the beliefs expressed by moral
judgments are beliefs about properties or states of affairs that in some way or
other implicate human judgments, sentiments, orgenerallyresponses: in other
words, that the truth-conditions of moral sentences constitutively implicate human
judgments, sentiments, or responses. McDowell 1985 and Wiggins 1987 explore
the idea from a non-naturalist perspective, and the view that they propose is
closely scrutinized in Wright 1988. Johnston 1989 is part of a symposium that looks
at the idea of response-dependence from the perspective of the AustralianAmerican philosophical axis. The appendix to Chapter3 of Wright 1992 is essential
reading for anyone wishing to get a grip on the idea of response-dependence
generally, while Blackburn 1993 provides a critical and searching examination of
the notion. Railton 1998 and Smith 1998 look at response-dependence from
different realistic and broadly naturalistic perspectives.
Blackburn, Simon. Circles, Finks, Smells, and Biconditionals.
Philosophical Perspectives 7 (1993): 259279.
DOI: 10.2307/2214125
A characteristically engaging and perceptive attempt at demolishing responsedependence from the viewpoint of a leading expressivist.
Johnston, Mark. Dispositional Theories of Value. Proceedings of the
Aristotelian Society supp. 63 (1989): 139174.
Part of an important symposium in which Johnston and others offer different
views of response-dependence along the Melbourne-Canberra-Princeton axis.
McDowell, John. Values and Secondary Qualities. In Morality and
Objectivity: A Tribute to J. L. Mackie. Edited by Ted Honderich, 110
129. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985.
A very difficult paper but regarded as one of the seminal texts for the

contemporary discussion of response-dependence.


Railton, Peter. Red, Bitter, Good. European Review of Philosophy 3
(1998): 6784.
A critique of response-dependence from a leading naturalist realist.
Smith, Michael. Response-Dependence without Reduction. European
Review of Philosophy 3 (1998): 85108.
An attempt to use the notion of response-dependence in the service of a realist
and broadly naturalistic view of morals.
Wiggins, David. A Sensible Subjectivism? In Needs, Values, Truth:
Essays in the Philosophy of Value. By David Wiggins, 185214. Oxford:
Blackwell, 1987.
Argues for a position similar to that in McDowell 1985.
Wright, Crispin. Moral Values, Projection, and Secondary Qualities.
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society supp. 62 (1988): 126.
A demanding but precise and rewarding discussion, arguing against responsedependent accounts of morals.
Wright, Crispin. Truth and Objectivity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1992.
The appendix to Chapter3 is a state-of-the-art survey of response-dependence
and the associated literature.

CONSTRUCTIVISM
The main contemporary arguments in favor of Kantian constructivism can be
found in Korsgaard 1996a, Korsgaard 1996b, Korsgaard 2008, and Korsgaard 2009.
Korsgaard argues that if we didnt value our humanity we would not be capable of
rational action, and tries to use this alleged fact to generate an account of moral
obligation that provides a satisfying metaethical position superior to the standard
realist and non-realist alternatives. It is controversial whether Korsgaard is even
arguing for a genuinely metaethical view; see Hussain and Shah 2006. Enoch 2006
usefully places Korsgaards view in the context of similar views that attempt to
ground normativity in claims about what is constitutive of action.
Enoch, David. Agency, Schmagency: Why Normativity Wont Come

From What Is Constitutive of Action. Philosophical Review 115 (2006):


169197.
DOI: 10.1215/00318108-115-2-169
Argues that normativity cannot be grounded in what is constitutive of agency,
and includes critical discussion of Korsgaard as an example of a philosopher who
holds such a view.
Hussain, Nadeem, and Nishi Shah. Misunderstanding Metaethics:
Korsgaards Rejection of Realism. In Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
Vol. 1. Edited by Russ Schafer-Landau, 265294. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2006.
Argues that Korsgaard has failed to provide an alternative to moral realism
because she fails to distinguish between normative judgments and metaethical
interpretations of moral judgment. Hussain and Shah have papers in the same
vein in preparation.
Korsgaard, Christine M. Creating the Kingdom of Ends. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996a.
A collection of articles mainly on the Kantian background to Korsgaards views.
Korsgaard, Christine M. The Sources of Normativity. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1996b.
In the first half of the book Korsgaard works towards her favored view from a
historical perspective. The second half contains critical replies by Cohen, Geuss,
Nagel, and Williams, with counter-replies from Korsgaard herself.
Korsgaard, Christine M. The Constitution of Agency: Essays on
Practical Reason and Moral Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2008.
Collects together a number of Korsgaards previously published papers,
particularly noteworthy among them being Realism and Constructivism in 20th
Century Moral Philosophy.
Korsgaard, Christine M. Self-Constitution, Agency, Identity, and
Integrity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Korsgaards most recent extended exposition of her views, based on her 2002
Locke Lectures at Oxford.

NON-REDUCTIVE NATURALISM (CORNELL REALISM)

Non-reductive naturalism (NRN) is a form of moral realism (often called Cornell


Realism because many of its leading protagonists are or were associated with
Cornell University). Non-reductive naturalists hold that moral properties make a
genuine and ineliminable contribution to the best explanation of experience (in
particular, of moral belief) and as such count as irreducible but natural. Sturgeon
1985 is a key paper in the NRN tradition; a good way into the view is to see it as a
reply to the skeptical challenge (according to which moral properties and facts
never explain anything) developed in the opening chapters of Harman 1977. The
rest of the sources mentioned here all contribute one way or another to the debate
initiated by Harman and Sturgeon: Boyd 1988, Nelson 2006, Sturgeon 1986a, and
Sturgeon 1986b argue in favor of NRN, while Harman 1986 and Leiter 2001 offer
critiques. Dworkin 1996 questions Harmans framework for evaluating moral
realism.
Boyd, Richard N. How to Be a Moral Realist. In Essays on Moral
Realism. Edited by Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, 181228. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press, 1988.
The most detailed working-out of a semantics for NRN.
Dworkin, Ronald. Objectivity and Truth: Youd Better Believe It.
Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (1996): 87139.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1088-4963.1996.tb00036.x
Argues that Harmans claim that the test of the objectivity of morals is the
capacity of moral facts to figure in empirical explanations is misconceived.
Harman, Gilbert. The Nature of Morality: An Introduction to Ethics.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.
Chapters 1 and 2 are the locus classicus for the view that moral facts and
properties are explanatorily inefficacious.
Harman, Gilbert. Moral Explanations of Natural Facts: Can Moral
Claims Be Tested against Moral Reality? Southern Journal of
Philosophy 24 (1986): 5768.
A reply to Sturgeon 1985.
Leiter, Brian. Moral Facts and Best Explanations. Social Philosophy
and Policy 18 (2001): 79101.
DOI: 10.1017/S0265052500002910
A withering critique of the NRN idea that moral facts have a genuine and
indispensable explanatory role.

Nelson, Mark T. Moral Realism and Program Explanation.


Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2006): 417428.
DOI: 10.1080/00048400600895946
Argues that the Jackson-Pettit notion of program explanation can aid NRN in
replying to the challenge of Harman 1977.
Sturgeon, Nicholas. Moral Explanations. In Morality, Reason, and
Truth. Edited by David Copp and David Zimmerman, 4978. Rowman
and Allanheld, 1985.
The locus classicus for the view that moral facts and properties are explanatorily
efficacious.
Sturgeon, Nicholas. Harman on Moral Explanations of Natural Facts.
Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (1986a): 6978.
A reply to Harman 1986, which critiques Sturgeon 1985.
Sturgeon, Nicholas. What Difference Does It Make Whether Moral
Realism Is True? Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (1986b): 115142.
Further development of the NRN view defended in Sturgeon 1985.

Moral Twin Earth


NRN aspires to a form of cognitivist realism with a number of attractive features.
Since it is naturalist, it avoids Mackie-style arguments from queerness, but since
it eschews the idea that moral expressions are synonymous with naturalistic
expressions, it avoids whatever version of the open question argument survives the
standard criticisms. In a series of papers (Horgan and Timmons 1990, Horgan and
Timmons 1992a, Horgan and Timmons 1992b, Horgan and Timmons 2000) Terence
Horgan and Mark Timmons have argued that this aspiration cannot be satisfied.
Copp 2000 and van Roojen 2006 offer critiques of the moral twin-earth argument.
Copp, David. Milk, Honey, and the Good Life on Moral Twin Earth.
Synthese 124 (2000): 113137.
DOI: 10.1023/A:1005278727197
An attempt to deflate the moral twin earth argument.
Horgan, Terence, and Mark Timmons. New Wave Moral Realism
Meets Moral Twin Earth. Journal of Philosophical Research 16 (1990):
447465.
This paper argues that ifas NRN hopesthe semantics of moral expressions
can be modeled on the standard Kripke-Putnam semantics for natural kind

terms, the twin earth thought experiment devised by Putnam for natural kind
terms should yield the same results for moral terms. By describing a moral twinearth scenario, the paper argues that in fact the natural kind case is radically
different from the moral case.
Horgan, Terence, and Mark Timmons. Troubles on Moral Twin Earth:
Moral Queerness Revived. Synthese 92 (1992a): 221260.
DOI: 10.1007/BF00414300
Takes the argument of Horgan and Timmons 1990 further, by arguing that a
form of the argument from queerness survives to haunt NRN.
Horgan, Terence, and Mark Timmons. Troubles for New Wave Moral
Semantics: The Open-Question Argument Revived. Philosophical
Papers 21 (1992b): 153175.
Takes the argument of Horgan and Timmons 1990 further, by arguing that a
form of the open question argument survives to haunt NRN.
Horgan, Terrence, and Mark Timmons. Copping Out on Moral Twin
Earth. Synthese 124 (2000): 139152.
DOI: 10.1023/A:1005234212937
A response to Copp 2000.
Sayre-McCord, Geoffrey. Good on Twin-Earth. Philosophical Issues 8
(1997): 267292.
DOI: 10.2307/1523011
Offers a critique of the twin-earth argument.
van Roojen, Mark. Knowing Enough to Disagree: A New Response to
the Moral Twin Earth Argument. In Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Vol.
1. Edited by Russ Schafer-Landau, 161194. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2006.
Attempts to develop a semantics for a realist view capable of deflecting the
moral twin earth argument.

REDUCTIVE NATURALIST REALISM


Reductive naturalist realism attempts to reduce moral properties to other natural
properties (e.g. rightness might be reduced to conduciveness to human wellbeing). It comes in two main varieties, synthetic (in which no appeal is made to

analytic equivalence between moral and other naturalistic terminology) and


analytic (in which there is an appeal to a claimed analytic equivalence. The
foremost contemporary reductionist naturalist is Peter Railton, while the foremost
proponents of the analytic variety of naturalist reductionism are Frank Jackson and
Philip Pettit.

Railtons Reductive Naturalism


Railton proposes a two-step reductive account of moral rightness. First, the notion
of an agents well-being is identified with what the agent would desire to desire if
he were in conditions of full factual information and perfect instrumental
rationality. Second, moral rightness is identified with what is instrumentally
rational from a social point of view. The identities are delivered courtesy of a
reforming definition, in essence an empirical hypothesis that is justified on the
basis of enabling explanations of the relevant phenomena. The proposed reduction
is thus synthetic in nature. See Railton 1986a, Railton 1986b, Railton 1989, and
Railton 2003. Brandt 1979 is useful background, while Wiggins 1992, Wiggins
1993, and Sobel 1994 offer stimulating critiques.
Brandt, Richard B. A Theory of the Good and Right. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1979.
The early chapters develop the notion of reforming definition utilized by
Railton.
Railton, Peter. Moral Realism. Philosophical Review 95 (1986a):
163207.
DOI: 10.2307/2185589
The canonical statement of Railtons naturalist reductive realism.
Railton, Peter. Facts and Values. Philosophical Topics 14 (1986b): 5
31.
Further elaboration of the view proposed in Railton 1986a.
Railton, Peter. Naturalism and Prescriptivity. Social Philosophy and
Policy 7 (1989): 151174.
DOI: 10.1017/S0265052500001060
Further elaboration of Railtons view, with the emphasis on its externalist
account of the normativity of moral judgment.
Railton, Peter. Facts, Values, and Norms: Essays towards a Morality of
Consequence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Collects together Railtons most important contributions to metaethics (and also


normative ethics).
Sobel, David. Full-Information Accounts of Well-Being. Ethics 104
(1994): 784810.
DOI: 10.1086/293655
An illuminating critique of reductive accounts of well-being, Railtons included. A
very useful paper for metaethicists unfamiliar with the debates in normative
ethics about the constitution of well-being.
Wiggins, David. Ayer on Morality and Feeling: From Subjectivism to
Emotivism and Back Again. In The Philosophy of A. J. Ayer. Edited by
Lewis E. Hahn, 633660. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1992.
Argues that even synthetic naturalism is susceptible to a sophisticated
descendent of Moores open-question argument.
Wiggins, David. A Neglected Position? In Reality, Representation,
and Projection. Edited by John Haldane and Crispin Wright, 329338.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Part of an important four-paper symposium in which Railton and Wiggins battle
it out.

Analytic Moral Functionalism


Jackson and Pettit attempt a reductive account of moral properties that proceeds
by applying the method of conceptual analysis invented by Frank Ramsey and
adopted by David Lewis in the service of a reductive account of the mental (see
Lewis 1972). See Jackson 1992, Jackson 1998, and Jackson and Pettit 1995. For
criticism see Smith 1994, Zangwill 2000, and Horgan and Timmons 2009.
McFarland and Miller 1998 tries to deflect Smith 1994.
Horgan, Terry, and Mark Timmons. Analytic Moral Functionalism
Meets Moral Twin-Earth. In Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals: Themes
from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson. Edited by Ian Ravenscroft, 221
236. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Horgan and Timmons attempt to adapt their well-known moral twin-earth
argument (previously used against synthetic naturalism) against Jacksons
analytic functionalism. There is a reply by Jackson in the same volume.
Jackson, Frank. Critical Notice of Susan Hurleys Natural Reasons.
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (1992): 475488.

Contains a basic statement of the analytic functionalist approach in the moral


case. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and
Anthologies), pp. 200214.
Jackson, Frank. From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual
Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
The most sustained exposition of Jacksons approach to conceptual analysis and
its application to the moral case.
Jackson, Frank, and Philip Pettit. Moral Functionalism and Moral
Motivation. Philosophical Quarterly 45 (1995): 2040.
DOI: 10.2307/2219846
An attempt to articulate an internalist view of moral judgment and motivation
that can serve as a component of analytic functionalism.
Lewis, David. Psychophysical and Theoretical Identifications.
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1972): 249258.
An accessible account of how the method of conceptual analysis utilized by
Jackson applies in the case of psychological properties.
McFarland, Duncan, and Alexander Miller. Response-Dependence
without Reduction? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1998):
407425.
DOI: 10.1080/00048409812348531
Attempts to reply to Smiths permutation problem on behalf of analytic
functionalism.
Smith, Michael. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
Chapter 2 argues that analytic functionalist accounts of moral terms are vitiated
by what Smith terms the Permutation Problem.
Zangwill, Nick. Against Analytic Moral Functionalism. Ratio 13
(2000): 275286.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9329.00127
Argues that the analytic functionalist has problems accommodating certain
sorts of moral disagreement.

CONTEMPORARY NON-NATURALISM

Contemporary non-naturalists reject both expressivism and naturalist realism, but


argue that non-naturalist cognitivism neednt fall prey to the worries that beset the
non-naturalist intuitionism proposed by Moore and his followers in the early 20th
century. The main defenders of contemporary non-naturalism are John McDowell
and David Wiggins (but see also Schafer-Landau 2003).

Wiggins and McDowell


David Wiggins and John McDowell are the founding fathers of contemporary British
non-naturalist realism, basing their work on a range of philosophers, including
Aristotle and Wittgenstein; see Wiggins 1987, Wiggins 1991, and McDowell 1998.
Wright 1992, Arrington 1989, Lang 2001, and Sosa 2001 offer critiques of varying
strength and specificity.
Arrington, Robert L. Rationalism, Realism and Relativism. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press, 1989.
Chapter 4 contains a good discussion of non-naturalist realism.
Lang, Gerald. The Rule-Following Considerations and Metaethics;
Some False Moves. European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2001): 190209.
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0378.00135
A clear and insightful discussion of the role of the rule-following considerations
in arguments for metaethical realism.
McDowell, John. Mind, Value, and Reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press 1998.
Collects most of McDowells important papers on metaethics. See especially
Values and Secondary Qualities, Virtue and Reason, Non-Cognitivism and
Rule-Following, Two Sorts of Naturalism, and Projectivism and Truth in Ethics.
Schafer-Landau, Russ. Moral Realism: A Defence. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2003.
A rare example of a North American philosopher arguing in favor of nonnaturalist realism.
Sosa, David. Pathetic Ethics. In Objectivity in Law and Morals.
Edited by Brian Leiter, 287329. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press, 2001.
An extended critique of modern non-naturalism. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin
2006 (cited under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 241284.

Wiggins, David. A Sensible Subjectivism. In Needs, Values, Truth:


Essays in the Philosophy of Value. By David Wiggins, 185214. Oxford:
Blackwell, 1987.
A paper arguing that subjectivity can be implicated in the truth-conditions of
normative statements without realism necessarily being impugned. Should be
read in conjunction with McDowell 1985 (cited under Error Theory) and Wright
1988 (cited under Response Dependence).
Wiggins, David. Moral Cognitivism, Moral Relativism and Motivating
Moral Beliefs. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 91 (1991): 61
85.
A brief introduction to Wigginss non-naturalist and anti-Humean metaethic.
Wright, Crispin. Truth and Objectivity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1992.
Chapter 5 contains a critique of Wigginss notion of vindicatory explanation.

Moral Particularism
Moral particularism is the view that the rationality of moral thought and talk does
not depend on the existence of moral principles. It is often associated with ethical
non-naturalism (in particular McDowells papers Virtue and Reason and NonCognitivism and Rule-Following; see McDowell 1998, cited in Wiggins and
McDowell) and is opposed by moral generalism. The foremost contemporary
exponent of moral particularism is Jonathan Dancy (Dancy 2004, Dancy 2009).
Hooker and Little 2000 offers a representative collection of articles both for and
against particularism.
Dancy, Jonathan. Ethics without Principles. Oxford: Clarendon, 2004.
Dancys latest and most sustained exposition and defense of moral
particularism, which he attempts to justify on the basis of a view of reasons that
he calls reasons-holism.
Dancy, Jonathan. Moral Particularism
URL: (http://www.seop.leeds.ac.uk/entries/moral-particularism/). In
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2009.
Probably the best introductory survey on moral particularism and generalism.
Hooker, Brad, and Margaret O. Little, eds. Moral Particularism.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

A high-level collection consisting of twelve original articles by leading


contributors to the particularism-generalism debate.
Lance, Mark N., Matjaz Potrc, and Vojko Strahovik, eds. Challenging
Moral Particularism. London: Routledge, 2007.
A collection of twelve papers by leading protagonists in the moral particularism
debate, including Hooker, Dancy, McNaughton, Bakhurst, and others.
McKeever, Sean, and Michael Ridge. Principled Ethics. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2006.
DOI: 10.1093/0199290652.001.0001
A detailed defense of a form of moral generalism.

MORAL PSYCHOLOGY
Moral psychology can be taken to concern issues about moral motivation, reasons
to act morally, and the nature of the relationship between moral judgment and
motivation. For ease of presentation it can be broken down into three (interrelated)
areas. An accessible account of how issues in moral psychology potentially impact
on debates between moral realists and their opponents can be found in Chapter1
of Smith 1994.

Internalism and Externalism


Internalists (sometimes called motivational internalists) typically hold that there
is a necessary, conceptual, and a priori relationship between moral judgment and
motivation to act. For example, in the works mentioned here, Smith argues that it
is a conceptual a priori truth that a practically rational agent who makes a moral
judgment will be motivated to act accordingly. Stratton-Lake 1999 and Dreier 2000
develop objections to Smiths argument, and Dancy 1995 attempts to undermine
Smiths whole conception of the internalist-externalist debate, while Brink 1989
and Zangwill 2003 develop externalist alternatives. (Note that internalism and
externalism do not mean the same in metaethics as they mean in epistemology
or the philosophy of mind.)
Brink, David O. Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
An extended defense of a naturalist and externalist view of morals. For
internalism and externalism, see Chapter3 in particular.

Dancy, Jonathan. Why There Is Really No Such Thing as the Theory of


Motivation. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95 (1995): 118.
An attempt to undermine Smiths conception of debates between internalism
and externalism.
Dreier, James. Dispositions and Fetishes: Externalist Models of Moral
Motivation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2000):
619638.
DOI: 10.2307/2653615
Attempts to show that an externalist can deflect the accusation in Smith 1994
and Smith 1996a that externalism must view morally virtuous agents as moral
fetishists. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and
Anthologies), pp. 547566.
Smith, Michael. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
The first half of Chapter3 contains an extremely useful taxonomy of different
forms and strengths of internalism together with a widely discussed argument
in favor of internalism.
Smith, Michael. The Argument for Internalism: A Reply to Miller.
Analysis 56 (1996a): 175183.
DOI: 10.1111/j.0003-2638.1996.00175.x
Contains some very helpful clarification of the argument for internalism in Smith
1994.
Smith, Michael. Internalisms Wheel. In Truth in Ethics. Edited by
Brad Hooker, 6994. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996b.
A very useful narrative that traces the development of internalism in modern
metaethics.
Stratton-Lake, Philip. Why Externalism Is Not a Problem for
Intuitionists. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1999): 77
90.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9264.00046
Contains an interesting response to the argument for internalism in Smith 1994.
Zangwill, Nick. Externalist Moral Motivation. American Philosophical
Quarterly 40 (2003): 143154.
Expounds and defends a form of motivational externalism.

Rationalism and Anti-Rationalism


Rationalists (as defined in Smith 1994) hold that our concept of a moral
requirement is a concept of a rational requirement, so that moral facts are facts
about reasons for action. Smith argues in favor of rationalism, and suggests that
rationalism entails a form of motivational internalism. Foot 2002 is a canonical
source for anti-rationalism, while Railton 1986 defends a form of anti-rationalism.
Morgan 2006 provides an excellent introduction to the debate.
Foot, Philippa. Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives. In
Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy. By Philippa
Foot, 157173. Oxford: Clarendon, 2002.
A classic text in the anti-rationalist tradition. First published in 1978.
Morgan, Seiriol. Naturalism and Normativity. Philosophy and
Phenomenological Research 72 (2006): 319345.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00563.x
Argues that anti-rationalist naturalism does not provide a plausible account of
the normativity of morals.
Railton, Peter. Moral Realism. Philosophical Review 95 (1986): 163
207.
DOI: 10.2307/2185589
Section 5 defends a form of anti-rationalism.
Smith, Michael. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
The second half of Chapter3 builds on the argument of the first half to defend a
form of rationalism.

The Humean Theory of Motivation


The Humean Theory of Motivation is the view that motivation is always a matter of
having both means-end beliefs and desires, where these are distinct existences
(in the sense that for any pair consisting of a belief and a desire, it is at least
possible to have one without the other). For a good account of how the Humean
Theory of Motivation together with the internalist-externalist debate impacts on
central metaethical issues, see Chapter 1 of Smith 1994 (cited in Rationalism and
Anti-Rationalism). For defenses of Humeanism, see Smith 1987 and Smith 1988.
For Anti-Humeanism, see McDowell 1998, Platts 1979, and Little 1997.
Little, Margaret O. Virtue as Knowledge: Objections from the
Philosophy of Mind. Nos 31 (1997): 5977.

Argues that metaethical positions that view virtue as a kind of knowledge are
untouched by the considerations about the respective directions of fit of beliefs
and desires standardly adverted to by defenders of Humeanism.
McDowell, John. Mind, Value, and Reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1998.
The essays Virtue and Reason and Non-Cognitivism and Rule-Following
contain canonical statements of the anti-Humean view.
Miller, Alex. An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics. Cambridge,
UK: Polity, 2003.
Section 10.4 develops a critique of Smiths argument for Humeanism.
Pettit, Philip. Humeans, Anti-Humeans, and Motivation. Mind 96
(1987): 530533.
Argues that Smith 1987 fails to highlight the central issue at stake between
Humeanism and anti-Humeanism and fails to settle the debate between them.
Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and Anthologies),
pp. 602605.
Platts, Mark. Ways of Meaning: An Introduction to a Philosophy of
Language. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979.
Chapter 10, Moral Reality, contains a very useful discussion of the nonnaturalist realist approach to morality and how it bears on issues about
motivation.
Smith, Michael. The Humean Theory of Motivation. Mind 96 (1987):
3661.
A closely argued paper in defense of the Humean Theory. A revised version of the
paper appears as Chapter4 of Smith 1994 (cited under Textbooks and
Anthologies). Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited under Textbooks and
Anthologies), pp. 575601.
Smith, Michael. On Humeans, Anti-Humeans, and Motivation: A Reply
to Pettit. Mind 97 (1988): 589595.
An attempted reply to Pettit 1987. Reprinted in Fisher and Kirchin 2006 (cited
under Textbooks and Anthologies), pp. 606614.

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