Shakespeare, Moral Judgments, and Moral Realism

20 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015 Last revised: 3 Nov 2016

See all articles by Matthew H. Kramer

Matthew H. Kramer

University of Cambridge; University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2015

Abstract

Among the many areas of scholarship that can be enriched through an engagement with Shakespeare’s plays, moral philosophy is a particularly fruitful territory. In the present essay, I draw on a couple of Shakespearean tragedies to come to grips with a challenge that has sometimes been mounted against moral realism. Moral realism I take to be the thesis that morality (or ethics more broadly) is objective along a number of different ontological, epistemic, and semantic dimensions. Here the challenge to be countered - with assistance from Shakespeare - is focused on the foremost respect in which morality is semantically objective. That is, some opponents of moral realism have sought to deny that moral judgments are ever truth-apt, by contending that such judgments are inherently possessed of motivational force. This essay will examine their reasoning, with the aim of showing that (insofar as the reasoning is sound) it can readily be accommodated by moral realism.

Keywords: Shakespeare, moral realism, moral judgment, objectivity, morality, truth-aptitude, moral philosophy, judgment-internalism

JEL Classification: K4, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Kramer, Matthew H., Shakespeare, Moral Judgments, and Moral Realism (January 1, 2015). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 1/2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2553753 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2553753

Matthew H. Kramer (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom
44-1223-336231 (Phone)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
308
Abstract Views
1,678
rank
108,853
PlumX Metrics