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moral realism

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics Any moral theory which holds that moral facts or ethical properties , such as being good or bad or being virtuous or evil, exist independent of our beliefs and will , and that ethics should find out truths about them. It is realism applied to moral affairs and moral statements. It is related to moral objectivism , but contrasts to moral subjectivism and ethical relativism. Corresponding to Dummett 's characterization of realism, moral realism is also defined as the claim that moral judgments obey the law of excluded middle and must be either true or false. The truth of moral judgments is independent of the evaluator's moral beliefs. Jean Piaget used the term ‘moral realism’ for an essential early stage of moral belief in which moral rules are viewed as external and independent of social function and in which the degree of praise and blame depends on the consequences of actions rather than intent. According to Piaget, this view may be found in the moral development of children in our societies and among adults in primitive societies. “Moral realism can now be defined as the claim that some moral judgments are true and every moral judgement is true if and only if certain conditions obtain that are independent of the actual and ideal moral beliefs and choices of the people who judge and are judged.” Sinnott-Armstrong, Moral Dilemmas ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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