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Putnam's Moral Realism
University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Moral realism is the view that there are such things as moral facts. Moral realists have attempted to combat the skeptical problem of relativism, which is that the truth of an ethical value judgment is often, or always, subjective, that is, relative to the parties it involves. This essay presents, discusses, and criticizes Hilary Putnam’s attempt at maintaining moral realism while at the same time maintaining a degree of epistemological relativism. Putnam’s positive account originates in moral epistemology, at the heart of which lies truth, as idealized rational acceptability or truth under ideal conditions. The bridge between moral epistemology and normative ethics stems from Putnam’s disintegration of facts and values. His theory is finalized in the construction of a normative moral theory, in which the central notion is incessant self-criticism in order to maintain rationality. After presenting Putnam’s core thesis, the criticism raised by Richard Rorty, is deliberated upon. Rorty is critical of Putnam’s attempt at holding on to objectivity, because he does not understand how objective knowledge can be both relative to a conceptual scheme, and at the same time objective. The conclusion is that Putnam is unable to maintain his notion of truth as idealized rational acceptability and is forced into epistemological relativism. Putnam’s normative ethics has characteristics in common with virtue ethics, and is of much interest regardless of whether it can be grounded epistemologically or not.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
Moral realism, moral epistemology, relativism, idealized rational acceptability, ideal terminus, fact-value distinction, Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-8494OAI: diva2:646255
Subject / course
Educational program
Consciousness Studies - Philosophy and Neuropsychology
Available from: 2013-09-27 Created: 2013-09-07 Last updated: 2013-09-27Bibliographically approved

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Persson, Björn
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