Philosophical Investigations

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Volume 37 Issue 1 (January 2014), Pages 1-104

Against Moral Intellectualism (pages 37-56)


This paper argues that non‐cognitivism about moral judgements is compatible with moral realism. In order to reveal the possibility, and plausibility, of this hitherto under‐explored position in metaethics, it surveys a series of four increasingly fine‐grained formulations of the distinction between cognitivism and non‐cognitivism. It argues that all but the last of these distinctions should be rejected, on the grounds that they lead advocates of non‐cognitivism away from what initially motivated them to advocate non‐cognitivism in the first place. One significant pay‐off of this reconceived formulation of the cognitivism/non‐cognitivism distinction is that it reveals what it would take to properly appreciate the place of virtue ethics in contemporary metaethical debates.

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