Follow up to: Responses to My Questions for Moral Realists
Um… I said I’d publish this on Thursday, but I never said which time zone, so the correct answer is… um… Pacific Time. But here it is. Enjoy.
Awhile ago, I wrote four essays rejecting moral realism — “Will The Real Moral Realism Please Stand Up?”, “Finlay and Joyce on Moral Discourse”, “Why Moral Realism is False and How We Can Still Have Moral Discourse Without It”, and “You Can’t Unify Rationality and Morality”.
Ultimately, I came up with three different concepts that moral realism involves: There’s success theory, the part that I accept, which states that moral statements like “murder is wrong” do successfully refer to something real (in this case, a particular moral standard). There’s unitary theory, which I reject, that states there is only one “true” moral standard rather than hundreds of possible ones. And then there’s absolutism theory, which I reject, that states that the one true morality is rationally binding.
It was unitary theory and absolutism theory that I thought were part of moral realism, but didn’t understand. This lead me to pose the following questions for moral realists:
…Why is there only one particular morality? What is the one true theory of morality? What makes this theory the one true one rather than others? How do we know there is only one particular theory? What’s inadequate about all the other candidates?
…Where does morality come from? What is grounding morality? Are moral facts contingent; could morality have been different? Is it possible to make it different in the future?
…Why should we care about (your) morality? How does morality get it’s ability to be rationally binding? If the very definition of “rationality” includes being moral (as is sometimes the case), is that mere wordplay? Why should we accept this definition of rationality and not a different one?