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Volume 50 • Number 1

January 2013



 

 

Making Sense of Explanatory Objections to Moral Realism


by Elizabeth Tropman


Is it ever useful to cite moral facts to explain something that we observe? The fate of moral realism is thought to be hostage to the answer to this question. Many commentators suppose that morality, objectively construed, must possess a minimal sort of explanatory relevance if moral realism is to be plausible. To the extent that moral realists are unable to secure explanatory relevance for moral facts, moral realism faces a problem. Call this general objection an "explanatory objection" to moral realism. Despite the prevalence of explanatory objections in the literature, the connection between morality's explanatory powers and moral realism's truth is not clear. This essay considers several different reasons for subjecting morality to explanatory scrutiny and concludes that none of them uncover a special or compelling explanatory problem for realism.


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ISSN: 2152-1123