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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2002

Michael Devitt
Pages 1-15

Moral Realism
A Naturalistic Perspective

1. What is moral realism? The paper rejects standard answers (Sayre-McCord, Railton) in terms of truth and meaning. These standard answers are partly motivated by the phenomenon of noncognitivism. Noncognitivism does indeed cause trouble for a straightforwardly metaphysical answer but still such an answer can be given. 2. Why believe moral realism? It is prima facie plausible and its alternatives are not. Major worry: How can moral realism be fitted into a naturalistic world view? 3. But what about the arguments against moral realism? The paper looks critically at the argument from “queerness”, the argument from relativity, the argument from explanation, and epistemological arguments. 4. The paper concludes with some brief and inadequate remarks on fulfilling the naturalistic project.