Metaethics Explored - Paul Davis

Metaethics Explored

By Paul Davis

  • Release Date: 2007-01-01
  • Genre: Philosophy


The book begins with an overview of metaethics and
a rejection of the metaethics/normative ethics
distinction. Chapter 1 also considers the strengths
and limitations of the popular idea that morality is a
set of rules for how we treat one another, pointing to
the heart of the topic. Chapter 2 introduces the
distinction between cognitivism and noncognitivism,
and explains subjectivist, intersubjectivist, and
objectivist accounts of the truth conditions of moral
statements. Divine Command Theory and Kant's
categorical imperatives, as in his Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, are explained and
considered. Chapters 3 and 4 consider the hostility,
philosophical and popular, towards objectivist
realism. This includes some discussion of David
Hume’s arguments in A Treatise of Human Nature
and Enquiry Concerning the Principals of Morals,
and of A. J. Ayer's emotivism. It is argued that the
said hostility is unwarranted. Chapter 5 sketches a
naturalist objectivism and suggests that the
obstacles to its acceptance are typically grounded
on spurious asymmetries between ethics and other
"... an introduction to some of the main questions of current
philosophical discussions of metaethics. Davis’s writing
style is engaging and accessible, and he approaches
issues from a refreshingly commonsensical point of view.
... This book will be useful to students coming to
metaethics for the first time as well as interested
Matthew Chrisman, Dept. of Philosophy, University of