The Significance of Being Ethical: An essay on the case for moral realism and theism
E.O. Wilson
Michael Ruse
William Irwin
Moral anti-realism
Objective moral facts
Moral realism
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Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Taliaferro, C. (2016). The Significance of Being Ethical: An essay on the case for moral realism and theism. Scientia et Fides 4, nº 1, pp. 27-38
William Irwin defends a form of moral anti-realism, according to which there are no objective moral facts. He contends that moral realism is objectionable because of its being more complex or not as simple as anti-realism; moral realism is in conflict with science; moral realism is also challenged by the fact that our moral judgements would differ if we were subject to a different biology or evolutionary past. Irwin also argues that insofar as moral realism is supportable evidentially by experience this would lead to the absurdity of thinking theism may be supported evidentially by religious experience. In response, it is argued that there are many truths (about logic and mathematics) and practices (such as science itself) that are not intelligible if there are no objective, normative truths and that objective moral truths are no more dispensable or odd than epistemic norms. It is further argued that Irwin's account of the evolution of morality is not able to escape presupposing objective moral facts (about harm and benefaction). Finally, the appeal to moral and religious experience is defended in making the case for moral realism and theism.

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