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Thomas Nagel on Ethics

The Last Word (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 103.

[J]ust as there was no guarantee at the beginning of cosmological and scientific speculation that we humans had the capacity to arrive at objective truth beyond the deliverances of sense-perception — that in pursing it we were doing anything more than spinning collective fantasies — so there can be no decision in advance as to whether we are or are not talking about a subject when we reflect and argue about morality. The answer must come from the results themselves. Only the effort to reason about morality can show us whether it is possible, whether, in thinking about what to do and how to live, we can find methods, reasons, and principles whose validity does not have to be subjectively or relativistically qualified.