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Metaethics - 10 Arguments Against Moral Objectivity (And Why They Fail!)

cultural relativism cultural relativism philosophy error theory ethics meta-ethics metaethics metaethics philosophy moral objectivity moral skepticism naturalism nihilism objective morality objective morality debate objective morality does not exist objective morality explained objective morality vs subjective morality relativism subjectivism Jul 10, 2021



Ethical objectivism is the view that there are some objective moral standards. What this means is that moral standards apply to everyone everywhere, whether or not people believe that they do, or whether or not obeying those standards satisfies a person's desires. Moral claims are objectively true when they tell us what these objective standards require of us.

When it comes to the status of ethics or metaethics, there are really three major positions. There is relativism such that the correct moral standards are relative to individuals or cultures. Then there's nihilism, which says that, at the end of the day, there really are no moral standards or they're all false.

And then you have objectivism, which holds that the moral standards are in fact true, but their status doesn't depend on what's going on in our heads. It isn't our opinion of them that makes them true. Now, as you may know, there are problems with relativism and nihilism. You might think that that makes it the case that by default objectivism wins, because if the correct moral standards aren't relative to individuals or cultures, then there must be some objective moral standards that exist and their truth doesn't depend on what we think of them or our opinion of them. But now the question becomes, what doubts can we raise about moral objectivism? Can we construct arguments against the view and then are there plausible responses to those arguments such that objectivism comes out looking like the correct moral view?

That's what we're doing in this season of the philosophical life. And I can't wait to share these 10 arguments against moral objectivism and why they fail.


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