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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | 10.3176/tr.2020.3.11

Stijn van Gorkum


Some theorists in meta-ethics have recently defended so-called ‘meta-ethical pluralism’, which denies that ordinary moral discourse is uniform, instead claiming that it contains several different concepts of morality. But critics have objected that such a theory cannot adequately explain both moral and meta-ethical disagreement, because the use of, or focus on, different concepts, respectively, means that speakers in these contexts would frequently end up talking past each other instead of having a genuine disagreement. In response, I will argue that, in both cases, pluralism leaves more room for disagreement than its critics have thought: in ordinary moral discourse, speakers could still disagree about content that is communicated as a matter of pragmatics rather than semantics; and in meta-ethics, they could dispute both how moral discourse is to be conceptualized, and which concept is best. And that undermines any immediate inference from the presence of disagreement to the falsity of pluralism.


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