Consummate dilettantism!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Moral Realism Is As Justifiable As Your Morally Skeptical Morals

Moral skeptics (those who question the existence of moral truth) have it easy. Obviously there's no such thing as morality; prove it exists, they argue. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says:
Opponents often accuse moral skepticism of leading to immorality. However, skeptics about justified moral belief can act well and be nice people. They need not be any less motivated to be moral, nor need they have (or believe in) any less reason to be moral than non-skeptics have (or believe in). Moral skeptics can hold substantive moral beliefs just as strongly as non-skeptics. [...] All that moral skeptics deny is that their (or anyone's) moral beliefs are justified. This meta-ethical position about the epistemic status of moral beliefs need not trickle down and infect anyone's substantive moral beliefs or actions.
Moral skeptics must claim to be following moral principles that they cannot justify, or risk being unable to argue against torturing babies for sexual pleasure. But how can they follow unjustifiable moral principles? Is this not as absurd as being a moral realist, ostensibly an equally unjustifiable position? Occam's razor, my friend.

(I do believe that "morality" exists, but I just thought I'd take a little wind out of the skeptics' sails.)

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