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Objectivism, Subjectivism, and Relativism in Ethics

Ellen Frankel Paul, Fred Miller Jr., and Jeffrey Paul, eds. (Cambridge University Press: January 2008), 416 pages.

Do we desire things because they are good, or are they good because we desire them? Objectivists answer that we desire things because they are good; subjectivists answer that things are good because we desire them. Further, does it make sense to account for moral disagreement by claiming, as the moral relativist does, that something might be good for one person but not for another? Some essays in this book consider whether objective moral truths can be grounded in an understanding of the nature of human beings as rational and social animals. Some discuss the ethical theories of historical figures-Aristotle, Aquinas, or Kant-or offer critical assessments of the work of recent and contemporary theorists — such as Moore, Putnam, Ayn Rand, Philippa Foot, and Rosalind Hursthouse. Other essays ask whether moral principles and values can be constructed through a process of practical reasoning or deliberation. Still others consider what the phenomenology of our moral experiences can reveal about moral objectivity. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Introduction v
    • Acknowledgments xvi
    • Contributors xvii
    • Substantive Moral Theory Philip Pettit 1
    • Virtue and Nature Christopher W. Gowans 28
    • The Importance of Metaphysical Realism for Ethical Knowledge Douglas B. Rasmussen 56
    • Why Moral Judgments Can Be Objective Tibor R. Machan 100
    • The Importance of the Subject in Objective Morality: Distinguishing Objective from Intrinsic Value Tara Smith 126
    • Evaluative Concepts and Objective Values: Rand on Moral Objectivity Darryl F. Wright 149
    • Aristotelian Constructivism Mark LeBar 182
    • Moral Construction as a Task: Sources and Limits Thomas E. Hill, Jr. 214
    • Constructing Normative Objectivity in Ethics David B. Wong 237
    • What Does Moral Phenomenology Tell Us about Moral Objectivity? Terry Horgan Mark Timmons 267
    • Imaginative Resistance and Psychological Necessity Julia Driver 301
    • Objectivism and Relational Good Connie S. Rosati 314
    • Foundations in Aquinas’s Ethics Scott MacDonald 350
    • Revisionary Intuitionism Michael Huemer 368
    • Moral Objectivity Nicholas Rescher 393
    • Index 411