Moral Reality Revisited

Both the moral realist and the relational theses need clarification and motivation as much as they need defense. Because I have recently focused on the relational thesis, in this article I shall focus on the moral realist thesis. I shall ask three questions about the thesis. First, what does the thesis assert? This is a matter of clarifying what one means when one either asserts or denies that moral values are objective. Second, why should we care whether the moral realist thesis is true or false? I shall examine this question both in terms of the impact the truth or falsity of the thesis may have on our personal lives and in terms of its impact on how we should design and administer legal institutions. Third, what reason do we have to believe that the moral realist thesis is true? Over a decade ago I canvassed the reasons many have advanced for thinking the moral realist thesis to be false. Now I wish to make explicit the positive case for moral realism that was largely implicit in the earlier article.