J.M. Brennan’s The Open-Texture of Moral Concepts [book review]

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Terrance C. McConnell, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Do moral questions admit of correct and incorrect answers, or are they merely subjective matters? This is the most fundamental metaethical issue and it is the "guiding question" of Brennan's investigation (p. 9). Moral judgements are objective if and only if when two people disagree about any moral question, at least one must be mistaken (p. 153). With the heyday of logical positivism long behind us, it is again respectable to hold that ethics is an objective discipline. Brennan tries to defend this thesis, arguing that moral disputes are rationally decidable because there are independent "objective controls" on them (p. 107). Naturally, then, Brennan holds that noncognitivism is false. But he also claims that its major competitor, naturalism, is false. Since many do want to hold that moral judgments are objective and still reject naturalism (usually because of Moore's arguments), the task that Brennan sets for himself is important and ambitious — the task of sketching a novel theory concerning the nature of moral judgments.

Additional Information

The Journal of Value Inquiry 13 (Fall), pp. 237-239
Language: English
Date: 1979
Open-Texture of Moral Concepts, J.M. Brennan, Moral judgements,

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