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Harth, Manfred (2020): Irresolvable Disagreement, Objectivist Antirealism and Logical Revision. In: Erkenntnis [PDF, 645kB]


Meta-ethical realism faces the serious epistemological problem of how to explain our epistemic access to moral reality. In the face of this challenge many are sceptical about non-naturalist realism. Nonetheless, there is good reason to acknowledge moral objectivity: morality shows all the signs of a truth-apt discourse but doesn’t exhibit the typical relativity inducing features. This suggests a middle-ground position, a theory that embraces the virtues of realism but does avoid its vices: objectivist antirealism. In this paper, I’ll discuss, mainly following Crispin Wright’s account of moral truth as superassertibility, a promising version of objectivist antirealism and show how to cope with notorious problems, notably those arising from the thought that moral disagreement might be possible in which nobody is guilty of a cognitive shortcoming, which contradicts the antirealist claim that moral truth is not beyond our epistemic reach. The solution is to deny the possibility of cognitively faultless moral disagreement by arguing that cognitively blameless thinkers either agree or stay agnostic and, therefore, never disagree about any moral proposition. Since assuming an agnostic stance on the part of such thinkers contradicts the antirealist’s conception of truth—even within the limits of intuitionistic logic—I’ll propose an alternative logical revision for the moral discourse: a three-valued logic with epistemically construed truth-values.

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