All of Daniel_Greco's Comments + Replies


While I'm not sure what you mean by saying that most philosophers working in ethics think that morality is something "out there" I suspect that on a suitable clarification of "out there" it will turn out that lots of constructivists, quasi-realists, and anti-realists of various varieties will not think that morality is out there.

Hey Michael,

I'd be a bit surprised if you could find positive, substantive conclusions that metaethicists tend to converge on. My impression is that there's a great deal of disgagreement in the field.

However, I suspect you could find convergence on negative issues--that is, there are certain views, or at least certain combinations of views, that they might all agree should be rejected. Since I don't know metaethics well enough, I won't try to offer an example, but I do know that this happens in other areas of philosophy. To take an example that's already... (read more)

Oh sorry, missed the comments after Robin's discussing the wisdom of consulting metaethicists about these questions. Suffice to say, Bob's right that there are some very compelling arguments against Popperian Falsificationism. They are compelling enough, in my opinion, that it's hard to think that its having fallen out of favor in the philosophical professional represents anything but progress.

Also, here's a relevant difference between consulting philosophers about metaethical issues and consulting astrologers and theologians about the issues they discuss.... (read more)

I'm sympathetic to Robin on this one. For people who are interested in thinking seriously about these questions, I think a good first thing to do would be to run a search for metaethics on the stanford encylopedia of philosophy ( If people like that, then it might be good to buy a book that would serve as an introduction to metaethics, maybe an anthology, or a textbook. I'm not familiar with much of the literature, but I can say that Michael Smith's "The Moral Problem," serves as a pretty good introduction to a wide nu... (read more)


Daniel Dennett, an analytic philosopher, makes a very similar point to one that you do in defending physicalist approaches to the philosophy of mind. He thinks that the idea that there's a special, hard problem associated with explaining consciousness is similar to the pre-20th century idea that there's a special, hard problem with explaining life, and that philosophers who posit irreducible mental substances or properties are no better than vitalists, who believed that appeal to irreducible vital forces was necessary to explain life.

Dennett is far fro... (read more)