Advertisement

Moral Properties

  • Christopher B. KulpEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

I argue for a realist conception of moral properties in general, and first-order moral properties in particular. Properties are abstract, platonic universals which may or may not be instantiated, or instantiable, in concrete or abstract particulars. The concept of a possible world—an imaginary ordered-set of compossible properties—is used to elucidate a realist conception of moral truth, moral facts, and moral properties. On our view, truth—including first-order moral truth—is truth relative to one very special possible world, viz., the actual world. The chapter ends with an analysis and critique of moral naturalism, and develops a version of moral non-naturalism, which includes a defense of the gradeablity of first-order moral properties.

Keywords

Moral properties First-order Platonic universals Abstract particulars Possible world Moral naturalism Moral non-naturalism Gradeability 

Works Cited

  1. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics, translated by W. D Ross. The Basic Works of Aristotle, edited by Richard McKeon: 935–1112. New York: Random House, 1941.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, D. M. “Four Disputes About Properties,” Synthese, Vol. 144 (2005): 309–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ———. Nominalism and Realism: Universals and Scientific Realism, Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  4. Audi, Robert. Moral Perception. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balaguer, Mark. “Platonism in Metaphysics,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (Spring 2016 Edition). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/platonism/.
  6. Benaceraff, Paul. “Mathematical Truth,” Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 70, No. 19 (November 8, 1973): 661–79.Google Scholar
  7. Churchland, Paul. Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. “Some Reductive Strategies in Cognitive Neurobiology,” Mind, Vol. 95 (1986): 270–307.Google Scholar
  9. Gertler, Brie. “In Defense of Mind-Body Dualism,” in Reason and Responsibility: Readings in Some Basic Problems of Philosophy, 16th edition, edited by Joel Feinberg and Russ Shafer-Landau: 359–72. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Norman Kemp Smith. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1965 (1787).Google Scholar
  11. Kulp, Christopher B. “Disagreement and the Defensibility of Moral Intuitionism,” International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 4, Issue 224 (December 2016): 487–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. ———. Knowing Moral Truth: A Theory of Metaethics and Moral Knowledge. Lanham, MD: Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.Google Scholar
  13. ———. “Moral Facts and the Centrality of Intuitions,” in The New Intuitionism, edited by Jill Graper Hernandez: 48–66. New York and London: Continuum, 2011.Google Scholar
  14. ———. “The Pre-theoreticality of Moral Intuitions,” Synthese, Vol. 191 (October 2014): 3759–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lewis, David K. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.Google Scholar
  16. Mill, John Stuart. An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy and of the Principal Philosophical Questions Discussed in His Writings, Vol. 1. Boston: William Spencer, 1866.Google Scholar
  17. Moore, G. E. Principia Ethica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903.Google Scholar
  18. Oliver, Alex. “The Metaphysics of Properties,” Mind, New Series, Vol. 105, No. 417 (January 1996): 1–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plato. Meno, translated by W. K. C. Guthrie, in The Collected Dialogues of Plato, edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns: 385–420. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  20. Quine, W. V. “On What There Is,” reprinted in From a Logical Point of View, 2nd edition: 1–19. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  21. ———. Philosophy of Logic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  22. ———. “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” reprinted in From a Logical Point of View, 2nd edition: 20–46. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  23. Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.Google Scholar
  24. Ross, W. D. The Right and the Good. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1930.Google Scholar
  25. Steiner, Mark. Mathematical Knowledge. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  26. Sturgeon, Nicholas. “Moral Explanations,” in Ethical Theory 1: The Question of Objectivity, edited by James Rachels: Ch. XI. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  27. Williams, Bernard. Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

Personalised recommendations