There's Nothing Quasi About Quasi-Realism: Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine
46 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2016 Last revised: 27 Feb 2017
Date Written: September 15, 2016
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: Suggested Citation