From moral fictionalism to moral realism: An essay in moral metaphysics

Date of Completion

January 2010






Moral fictionalism is the view that everyday moral judgments involve, or else ought to involve, a sort of pretense. In this dissertation, I argue that both descriptive and prescriptive forms of moral fictionalism are unwarranted. Since prescriptive moral fictionalists are typically also error theorists, I contend that error theorists are better off abolishing moral language than trying to salvage it via fictionalism. I then argue that standard versions of the argument from queerness fail to establish error theory. In the final chapter, I argue that a more powerful version of the queerness argument falters in the face of a new form of moral realism that I call the proper-function theory of morality. ^