Moral realism

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Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 10:17 pm
I'm trying to understand the difference between robust moral realism and weak moral realism. I've googled a few different keywords but so far nothing gives me a definition that I can clearly understand. Wikipedia has an entry:

Moral realism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So I thought I'd ask some questions regarding that entry.

Moral realism requires:

- Moral statements/sentences are prepositions therefore are true or false ("stealing is bad", "honesty is good")
- The truth and falsity of the statements are independent of our opinions. They are objective facts like the circumference of the Earth, and if we did not know it, or did not exist, it would still hold the same value.
- We are able to know what the objective truth values through reasoning

however i'm still having a little trouble expressing robust and weak moral realism in my own words.

Robust moral realism:


The semantic thesis: The primary semantic role of moral predicates (such as "right" and "wrong") is to refer to moral properties (such as rightness and wrongness), so that moral statements (such as "honesty is good" and "slavery is unjust") purport to represent moral facts, and express propositions that are true or false (or approximately true, largely false, and so on).
Moral predicates are "right and wrong", "good and bad" etc. And their role is to refer to moral properties, "rightness and wrongness". Therefore moral statements (containing the predicates) express propositions - implying that they are true or false.

Q. is this just restating the first requirement of moral realism (ie moral statements are prepositions and they are true or false)


The metaphysical thesis: Moral propositions are true when actions and other objects of moral assessment have the relevant moral properties (so that the relevant moral facts obtain), where these facts and properties are robust: their metaphysical status, whatever it is, is not relevantly different from that of (certain types of) ordinary non-moral facts and properties.
I get lost with this one. Moral propositions are true when actions and other objects of moral assessment? Take a moral proposition "stealing is bad", that prop. is true when "actions and other objects of moral assessment". Actions as in the act of stealing? other moral assessments? and how do they have 'relevant moral properties'?

But reading from " not relevantly different from that of (certain types of) ordinary non-moral facts and properties..". Is the thesis just saying moral facts, just like non-moral facts (Earth's circumference etc) can be assessed.


The minimal model, on the other hand, leaves off the metaphysical thesis, treating it as matter of contention among moral realists
However, when i click on the 'minimal model' link, it takes me to moral universalism. From my interpretation, a weak moral realist only leaves out the metaphysical thesis (to be able to know the objective moral facts) and adhere to the rest of the requirements of moral realism. Why does universalism come in?


Reply Wed 28 Jan, 2009 10:26 pm
I don't know anthing about the subject (though you've piqued my interest). But the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy beats the pants off of Wikipedia for stuff like this:

Moral Realism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Moral Anti-Realism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 09:13 pm
Thinking About the Realism of Morals has also made me wonder where the lines in the sand are.

When a person see;s another commit an immoral act, is it that present act that contradicts their own morality?

Meaning, I know my morals are substantiated against another's, because I have formed a basic principle that one immoral act does not vacate the original moral premise, that is based on reasoning. To me the right or wrong paradigm is immovable because of my deeper belief. Yet at the same time I do not want my morals influence to be my Representative of my good intentions. Is this a contradiction?

This topic is very blurry to me.

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