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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 116, Issue 10, October 2019

Lei Zhong
Pages 555-576

The Hard Problem for Soft Moral Realism

Several leading moral philosophers have recently proposed a soft version of moral realism, according to which moral facts—though it is reasonable to postulate them—cannot metaphysically explain other facts (Dworkin 2011; Parfit 2011; Scanlon 2014). However, soft moral realism is faced with what I call the “Hard Problem,” namely, the problem of how this soft version of moral metaphysics could accommodate moral knowledge. This paper reconstructs and examines three approaches to solving the Hard Problem on behalf of the soft realist: the autonomy approach, the intuitionist approach, and the third-factor approach. I then argue that none of them is successful.

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