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Skeptical hypotheses and moral skepticism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Joshua May*
UAB Philosophy Dept. HB 425, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 900 13th St South, Birmingham AL 35294-1260,


Moral skeptics maintain that we do not have moral knowledge. Traditionally they haven't argued via skeptical hypotheses like those provided by perceptual skeptics about the external world, such as Descartes' deceiving demon. But some believe this can be done by appealing to hypotheses like moral nihilism. Moreover, some claim that skeptical hypotheses have special force in the moral case. But I argue that skeptics have failed to specify an adequate skeptical scenario, which reveals a general lesson: such arguments are not a promising avenue for moral skeptics to take. They're ultimately weaker when applied to morality compared to perception.

Copyright © The Authors 2013

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