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Archimedean Metaethics Defended

Ehrenberg, Kenneth (2008) Archimedean Metaethics Defended Metaphilosophy, 39 (4-5). pp. 508-529.

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We sometimes say our moral claims are ‘‘objectively true,’’ or are ‘‘right, even if nobody believes it.’’ These additional claims are often taken to be staking out metaethical positions, representative of a certain kind of theorizing about morality that ‘‘steps outside’’ the practice in order to comment on its status. Ronald Dworkin has argued that skepticism about these claims so understood is not tenable because it is impossible to step outside such practices. I show that externally skeptical metaethical theory can withstand his attacks, thereby defending the possibility of this kind of metatheoretical method and showing that the additional objectivity claims still make sense as external claims. Four interpretations of the additional objectivity claims can still be understood externally: as secondary properties, as arguing for some form of causal correspondence, as explaining error, and under Blackburn’s expressivism. In the end, Dworkin’s argument can be turned against itself.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Law
Authors :
Date : 1 December 2008
DOI : 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2008.00558.x
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2008 The Author Journal compilation copyright 2008 Metaphilosophy LLC and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: EHRENBERG, K. M. (2008), ARCHIMEDEAN METAETHICS DEFENDED. Metaphilosophy, 39: 508–529. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9973.2008.00558.x, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Archimedean skepticism, Simon Blackburn, cognitivism, Ronald Dworkin, expressivism, externalism, external skepticism, internalism, metaethics, methodology, relativism, skepticism about moral truth, subjectivism.
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 09 Aug 2017 14:16
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:55

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