Moral relativism and moral expressivism

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5 Scopus citations


Though moral relativism has had its supporters over the years, it is not a dominant position in philosophy. I will argue here, though, that the view is an attractive position. It evades some hardcore challenges that face absolutism, and it is reconcilable with an appealing emotivist approach to moral attitudes. In previous work, I have offered considerations in favor of a version of moral relativism that I call "perspectivalism." These considerations are primarily grounded in linguistic data. Here I offer a self-standing argument for perspectivalism. I begin with an argument against moral absolutism. I then argue that moral terms, such as 'wrong' and 'right', require for their application that the moral judge instantiate particular affective states, and I use this claim to provide further defense of moral relativism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-556
Number of pages19
JournalSouthern Journal of Philosophy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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