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  • Cited by 9
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Leiter, Brian 2015. Normativity For Naturalists. Philosophical Issues, Vol. 25, Issue. 1, p. 64.


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    Graber, Abraham 2012. Medusa’s Gaze Reflected: A Darwinian Dilemma for Anti-Realist Theories of Value. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 15, Issue. 5, p. 589.


    Zhong, Lei 2012. An Explanatory Challenge to Moral Reductionism. Theoria, Vol. 78, Issue. 4, p. 309.


    SINCLAIR, NEIL 2011. The Explanationist Argument For Moral Realism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 41, Issue. 1, p. 1.


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    Kauppinen, Antti 2002. Reason, Recognition, and Internal Critique. Inquiry, Vol. 45, Issue. 4, p. 479.


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Moral Facts and Best Explanations*

  • Brian Leiter (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0265052500002910
  • Published online: 01 January 2009
Abstract

Do moral properties figure in the best explanatory account of the world? According to a popular realist argument, if they do, then they earn their ontological rights, for only properties that figure in the best explanation of experience are real properties. Although this realist strategy has been widely influential—not just in metaethics, but also in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science—no one has actually made the case that moral realism requires: namely, that moral facts really will figure in the best explanatory picture of the world. This issue may have been neglected in part because the influential dialectic on moral explanations between philosophers Gilbert Harman and Nicholas Sturgeon has focused debate on whether moral facts figure in relevant explanations. Yet as others have noted, explanatory relevance is irrelevant when it comes to realism: after all, according to the popular realist argument, it is inference to the best explanation of experience that is supposed to confer ontological rights. I propose to ask, then, the relevant question about moral explanations: should we think that moral properties will figure in the best explanatory account of the world?

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Nicholas L. Sturgeon , “Critical Study of Gibbard's Wise Choices, Apt Feelings,” in Noûs 29, no. 3 (1995): 402–24, esp. 415–18.

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Jaegwon Kim , “Multiple Realization and the Metaphysics of Reduction,” reprinted in Kim, Supervenience and Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Brian Leiter and Alexander Miller , “Closet Dualism and Mental Causation,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28, no. 2 (1998): 161–81, esp. 171–73.

Joshua Cohen , “The Arc of the Moral Universe,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 26, no. 2 (1997): 94.

Alexander Rosenberg , “Moral Realism and Social Science,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1990): 150–66.

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
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