List journal issues    
Home List journal issues Table of contents Subscribe to APQ


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.

view PDF



Home | Issue Index
© 2012 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Content in American Philosophical Quarterly is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the American Philosophical Quarterly database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

American Philosophical Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-1123