By S. Morris
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Extra resources for Science and the End of Ethics
My decision to discuss these particular realist accounts is due in large part to my belief that specifying the manner in which they are supposed to differ from error theories is an effective way of making clear the specifics of my antirealist position. That said, the realist theories that I critique in this chapter are among the more prominent and/or representative examples of internalist alternatives to error theory, and it is for this reason that the objections I bring against them should be of interest to those interested in debates concerning moral realism.
Responding to the previous question, Prinz could acknowledge that morality does not, in fact, add anything over and above the existence of the moral sentiments. Morality, in a sense, simply refers to these sentiments. If this were true, then it would seem as though the only dispute between Prinz and the error theorist is a verbal one. The dispute appears verbal since it amounts to no more than whether or not we ought to attach the label “morality” to our tendency to experience—or perhaps the usefulness of experiencing—sentiments like anger and guilt in response to certain objects and actions in the world.
Likewise, I find Pereboom’s notion that one’s behavior can be morally wrong without it being the case that one was obligated to act otherwise to be intuitively implausible. This points to another reason why Pereboom’s attempt to preserve moral facts is problematic. Recall Joyce’s critique of Prinz’s sentimentalist account of morality in which Joyce argued that the kinds of facts that Prinz considers to constitute a genuine basis for morality are ill-suited for the moral realm since they do not appear to place any demands upon us.