Answering Moral Skepticism

Answering Moral Skepticism

Publisher: OUP USA
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Product details:

No. of pages:416 pages
Size:235x155x23 mm
Weight:572 g
Illustrations: 2 b/w charts
Short description:

This book is an accessible defence of the belief in objective morality. Most books on metaethics-the part of moral philosophy that investigates the existence and nature of morality-primarily discuss problems that particularly intrigue specialists in the field. Answering Moral Skepticism focuses instead on examining the worries about morality that are more likely to trouble ordinary reflective individuals.

Long description:
Most thoughtful people worry at one time or another about whether there can actually be such a thing as objective moral truth. They might wonder, for example, whether the prevalence of moral disagreement makes it reasonable to conclude that there aren't really any moral facts at all. Or they might be bothered by questions like these: What could objective moral facts possibly be like? Isn't it obvious that morality is simply relative to particular societies and particular times? If there were moral facts, how could we ever come to know anything about them? Can morality really have the motivating and rational force we normally take it to have? How can one possibly find a place for objective moral values in a scientific worldview?

Some people are driven by questions like these to the conclusion that we should embrace skepticism about morality, denying the very existence of anything worthy of the name. In Answering Moral Skepticism, Shelly Kagan shows how those who accept the existence of objective moral truth can provide plausible answers to these questions. Focusing throughout on issues that trouble reflective individuals, Kagan provides an accessible defense of the belief in objective morality will be of interest to both students of metaethics as well as anyone worried about the objectivity of their own moral judgements.
Table of Contents:
A Note to the Reader
1. What Would Morality Need to Be?
1.1 Job Descriptions
1.2 Possible Elements
1.3 Satisfying the Job Description
2. Basic Positions in Metaethics
2.1 Cognitivism vs. Noncognitivism
2.2 Nihilism vs. Moral Realism
2.3 Varieties of Moral Realism
2.4 Moral Skepticism
3. Nihilism
3.1 The Nature of Nihilism
3.2 The Case for Nihilism
3.3 Disregarding the Arguments
3.4 Normative Nihilism
4. Noncognitivism
4.1 The Nature of Noncognitivism
4.2 The Case for Noncognitivism
4.3 Objections to Noncognitivism
5. Disagreement
5.1 The Argument from Disagreement
5.2 The Implications of Disagreement
5.3 Explaining Moral Disagreement
5.4 Nonconvergence
6. Relativism
6.1 Moral Relativism
6.2 Clarifying Relativism
6.3 Arguing for Relativism
6.4 Relativized Foundational Theories
7. Knowledge
7.1 The Analogy to Observation
7.2 Appearances
7.3 Dismissing Moral Intuitions
7.4 Reliability
7.5 Intuitionism
8. Evolution
8.1 The Argument from Evolution
8.2 A Second Try
8.3 Truth and Advantage in Ethics
8.4 Common Ground
8.5 The Continuity Problem
8.6 Path Dependence
9. Explanation
9.1 A Metaphysical Test
9.2 Explaining Empirical Facts
9.3 Reduction and Explanation
9.4 The Normative Aspect of Moral Facts
9.5 The Unrestricted Test
10. Motivation
10.1 Motive Internalism
10.2 An Argument for Noncognitivism
10.3 Rejecting Motive Internalism
10.4 Rejecting the Humean Theory of Motivation
10.5 The Direction of Fit
11. Reasons
11.1 Reasons Internalism
11.2 Reasons
11.3 Refining the Argument
11.4 Hypothetical Reasons
11.5 Rational Support
11.6 Categorical Reasons and Motivation
12. Reductionism
12.1 The Appeal of Reductionism
12.2 The Nature of Reduction
12.3 The Open Question Argument
12.4 Properties of the Wrong Kind
12.5 The Significance of Reasons for Reduction
12.6 Reducing Reasons
13. Simple Realism
13.1 Simple Normative Realism
13.2 Objections to Irreducible Normativity
13.3 Nonnatural Properties
13.4 The Metaphysics of Morals
14. Moral Realism
14.1 Answering the Moral Skeptic
14.2 Systematic Moral Theory