There's Nothing Quasi About Quasi-Realism: Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine

46 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2016 Last revised: 27 Feb 2017

See all articles by Matthew H. Kramer

Matthew H. Kramer

University of Cambridge; University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2016

Abstract

This paper seeks to clarify and defend the proposition that moral realism is best elaborated as a moral doctrine. I begin by upholding Ronald Dworkin’s anti-Archimedean critique of the error theory against some strictures by Michael Smith, and I then briefly suggest how a proponent of moral realism as a moral doctrine would respond to Smith’s defense of the Archimedeanism of expressivism. Thereafter, this paper moves to its chief endeavor. By differentiating clearly between expressivism and quasi-realism (or moral realism as a moral doctrine), the paper highlights both their distinctness and their compatibility. In so doing, it underscores the affinities between Blackburnian quasi-realism and moral realism as a moral doctrine. Finally, this paper contends - in line with my earlier work on these matters - that moral realism as a moral doctrine points to the need for some reorienting of meta-ethical enquiries rather than for the abandoning of them.

Keywords: moral realism, error theory, John Mackie, Simon Blackburn, Ronald Dworkin, Michael Smith, quasi-realism, expressivism, moral philosophy

JEL Classification: K04, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Kramer, Matthew H., There's Nothing Quasi About Quasi-Realism: Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine (September 15, 2016). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 42/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2839248 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2839248

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

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