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See detailA Defence of Moral Revisionism
Lamothe, Christopher Laurence UL

Doctoral thesis (2020)

This dissertation examines the implications of J. L. Mackie’s moral error theory. Rather than attempting to prove that moral error theory is true, I analyze the responses to moral error theory, in order ... [more ▼]

This dissertation examines the implications of J. L. Mackie’s moral error theory. Rather than attempting to prove that moral error theory is true, I analyze the responses to moral error theory, in order to highlight the various problems that arise when we believe that there are no moral facts. Some of the problems for moral error theorists relate to moral language, moral attitudes and moral desert. The positions that I analyze include: moral fictionalism, moral conservationism, moral negotiationism, moral conversionism, moral propagandism and various forms of weak and strong abolitionism. Ultimately, I conclude that the responses that have been offered thus far have been problematic. In addition to explaining all of the established responses to moral error theory, I offer my own response, called moral revisionism. Moral revisionism is a version of weak abolitionism that recommends abolishing moral attitudes. It also recommends reframing moral discourse into a discourse based on the satisfaction of desires. As such, it is heavily dependent on hypothetical imperatives. Even though moral error theory poses numerous challenges, I argue that these challenges are not insurmountable, if we adopt moral revisionism. Moreover, a society that adopts moral revisionism could be even more instrumentally valuable than a moral one. [less ▲]

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