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ESPF Colloquium dr Chris Cowie (Durham University)

When:We 02-03-2022 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Room Omega


A New Defense of Error Theory


Error theory entails that moral claims that seem obviously true are not. This is evidence against error theory. It is also morally troubling. How should error theorists respond? Arguably the most popular response to-date has been to provide a debunking argument; an argument showing that our attachment to ordinary moral claims is mistaken. This response has shortcomings. I provide a new alternative. I concede that error theory’s counter-intuitive and morally troubling claims are just that. But I argue that this is everyone’s problem. Every metaethical theory – even robust realism – is committed to counter-intuitive and morally troubling claims. This is a result of the existence of inconsistency results and paradoxes familiar from ordinary moral philosophy. In fact, I argue, in some important respects error theory’s moral consequences are less counter-intuitive and less troubling than those of rival metaethical views including robust realism.