Relativism, Disagreement and Explanation: An attempt to amend Jamie Dreier’s Moral Relativism and Moral Nihilism
Grummitt (Peter)
Source: Birkbeck Research Seminar, 28/02/2008
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Dreier tries to use moral relativism as a “tactical retreat” from moral nihilism – a way to avoid moral nihilism’s radical conclusions while accepting some of the considerations and arguments that motivate it.
  2. Part of his argument which I will look at in Section I is his claim that what he calls ‘relative moral properties’ are part of our best explanation of moral observations, so we are justified in believing that there are such properties. The notable weakness of Dreier’s position is that his version of relativism fails to be able to account for moral disagreement.
  3. In Section II I will attempt to improve Dreier’s argument with the help of John MacFarlane’s version of relativism which can account for disagreement and will discuss how successfully this move coheres with Dreier’s argument.

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