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Notes by RBJ on

Moral Vision

by David A. McNaughton

1 Morality - Invention or Discovery?
 1.1Two views of morality
 1.2Justification and truth
 1.3Moral realism
 1.4Moral non-cognitivism
 1.5Moral freedom and the meaning of life
 1.6Realism, non-cognitivism and the moral tradition
 1.7Morality and ethical theory
2 Moral Non-Cognitivism - An Outline
3 Moral Realism - An Outline
4 Non-Cognitivism - Further Developments
5 Realism and Reality
6 The State of the Debate - an Interim Report
7 Moral Motivation
8 Moral Weakness
9 Amoralism and Wickedness
10 Moral Realism and Cultural Diversity
11 Non-Cognitivism and Utilitarianism
12 Quasi Realism
13 Principles or Particularism?

Morality - Invention or Discovery?

The book is built around the single issue of moral realism and its converse, which seems now to be called non-cognitivism. The first chapter makes the distinction, in preparation for its further elaboration throughout the book. This almost completely distroyed my motivation for reading further since I find some difficulty in finding any content in the realist claim (or, consequently, in its denial). Both in morals and in other aspects of philosophy, this places me in a minority. Most philosophers seem able to understand realist claims and to engage in what they evidently take to be rational debate about its truth. Some can go so far as to reach a moderately firm conclusion on one side or the other. Feeling somewhat undermined by realism being the central and pervasive issue of the book I have suspended my commentary before it is begun. I have things to say elsewhere, first about philosophy and language, and then about my attitude towards some other "realisms". Perhaps that will give me a framework within which I can read the debate about moral realism with out too overwhelming a sense of futility.

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