The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1999


Margarita M. Valdés
Pages 73-81

Practical Ethics and Moral Objectivism

Moral philosophers working today on concrete moral issues seem to assume certain views that are opposite to those of their predecessors; chief among these is that morality has an objective basis, that it is not just the result of subjective reactions, but comprises a body of beliefs acquired through some kind of perception of certain traits of reality. However, the reasons for thinking that people who discuss substantive moral issues are committed to moral objectivism are either not very clear or not entirely convincing. In what follows I shall examine the reasons given by John Mackie for considering that the use of first-level moral language—the language frequently used in the discussion of concrete moral problems—commits the user to moral objectivism.

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