Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 15, 1990

E.J. Bond
Pages 15-45

Could There Be a Rationally Grounded Universal Morality?
(Ethical Realitivism in Williams, Lovibond, and MacIntyre)

Williams claims that the only particular moral truths, and perhaps the only moral truths of any kind, are nonobjective, i.e., culture-bound. For Lovibond we have moral truths when an assertion-condition is satisfied, and that is determined by the voice of the relevant moral authority as embodied in the institutions of the sittlich morality. According to MacIntyre one must speak from within a living tradition for which there can be no external rational grounding. However, if my criticisms of traditional philosophical ethics are sound, such relativist and historicist views are unjustified, and the project of seeking a rationally grounded morality is perfectly in order.