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Moral disagreement is, after all, an epistemic phenomenon, from which we propose to draw a metaphysical conclusion.The ‘defusing’ explanations of moral disagreement propose to exploit that fact, by suggesting alternate epistemic explanations for the disagreement, explanations that are compatible with the existence of objective moral facts.
If the former, is utility a matter of preference-satisfaction (as the economists often believe) or preference satisfaction under idealized circumstances—or is it, rather, unconnected to the preferences of agents, actual or idealized, but instead a matter of realizing the human essence or enjoying some ‘objective’ goods?
And perhaps a criterion of right action isn’t even the issue, perhaps the issue is cultivating dispositions of character conducive to living a good life.
The alternative, “moral realist” explanation for the data—the data being the existence ofincompatible philosophical theories about morality—is both less simple and less consilient. (eds.), are undetected by large number of philosophers who are otherwise deemed to be rational and epistemically informed.
First, of course, it posits the existence of moral facts which, according to the more familiar best-explanation argument I have defended elsewhere (“Moral Facts and Best Explanations” in E. Third, the moral realist must explain why there is a failure of convergence under what appear (and purport) to be epistemically ideal conditions of sustained philosophical inquiry and reflective contemplation across millennia.
establish or “prove” that “all attempts to give reasons for morality are necessarily sophistical”?
Nietzsche’s thought must be that all these philosophers appear to provide “dialectical justifications” for moral propositions, but that all these justifications actually fail.
And here, of course, I have merely canvassed just of the disagreements that plague Western academic moral theory, not even touching on non-Western traditions, or radical dissenters from the mainstream of academic moral theory, such as Nietzsche himself.
Notice, too, that the disagreements of moral philosophers are amazingly intractable.
Let us start with Nietzsche’s version of this argument.
This passage is representative: about Kant’s moral philosophy, which he describes as “[t]he…stiff and decorous Tartuffery of the old Kant, as he lures us on the dialectical bypaths that lead to his ‘categorical imperative’—really lead astray and seduce” (BGE: 5).