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Review of Metaethical Subjectivism by Richard Double
Metapsychology (2006)
  • Matthew Pianalto, Eastern Kentucky University

"There are no objective values." Thus begins J.L Mackie's classic Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (1977), in which metaethical error-theory was originally expounded. Error-theory holds that although moral judgments appear to be about objective matters (e.g. what is really valuable, what we really ought to do), there is no good reason to believe that there are objective values, and so all moral judgments are false because they fail to refer. In Metaethical Subjectivism, Richard Double again makes the case for error-theory by focusing upon the fragmentary character of our moral intuitions and the apparent impossibility of corralling all of these intuitions into an objective normative ethical theory. The best explanation of the disunity among our moral intuitions, according to Double, is the metaphysical thesis that there are no objective values (or obligations, or virtues), rather than the objectivist thesis which must attribute the conflicting character of our moral judgments to cognitive error. Morality is metaethically subjective, claims Double, which means that we need only appeal to human psychology and feelings in order to explain the source of our moral judgments; morality is our invention, not our discovery.

  • review of metaethical subjectivism
Publication Date
June 12, 2006
Citation Information
Matthew Pianalto. "Review of Metaethical Subjectivism by Richard Double" Metapsychology Vol. 10 Iss. 24 (2006)
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