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« Jonathan Wolff on Disadvantage | Main | Brad Hooker on Consequentialism »

August 27, 2007


Phil Craig

Interesting but unconvincing. Blackburn acknowledges that moral relativism is wrong (i.e. that moral values exist objectively) but seems to have nothing more to say than that. What actually *are* those values?

Burk Braun

Great interview!
I have to say that subjectivism came out quite well here, when one adds the critical ingredient that morals are not individual, but communal. So the accurate position is that we are all subjectivists engaged in negotiations about how to control each other's behavior- a project of perpetual interest. Blackburn's position of quasi-realism, which partakes of no realism (or absolutism) whatsoever should really be termed negotiated subjectivism. It's main aim is to coordinate individual behavior so that it satisfies the individual as well as possible while not impinging too much on the sensibilities and behavior of others.

The role of religion in this view is to promulgate through force of hocus pocus a common (and often arbitrary) sensibility that makes the above coordination relatively efficient. But in our secular, enlightened time, a firmer ground is concepts like human rights and personal freedom, which everyone can get behind based on rather universal human feelings and the elementary logic of reciprocity.

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