Finlay on Moral Realism

This is a comments thread for Stephen Finlay’s paper Four Faces of Moral Realism in Philosophy Compass. This article has been made free by Blackwell for the purpose of this thread. Here is the abstract.

This article explains for a general philosophical audience the central issues and strategies in the contemporary moral realism debate. It critically surveys the contribution of some recent scholarship, representing expressivist and pragmatist nondescriptivism (Mark Timmons, Hilary Putnam), subjectivist and nonsubjectivist naturalism (Michael Smith, Paul Bloomfield, Philippa Foot), nonnaturalism (Russ Shafer-Landau, T. M. Scanlon) and error theory (Richard Joyce). Four different faces of ‘moral realism’ are distinguished: semantic, ontological, metaphysical and normative. The debate is presented as taking shape under dialectical pressure from the demands of (i) capturing the moral appearances; and (ii) reconciling morality with our understanding of the mind and world.

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