Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Eric Brown


This dissertation provides a novel argument from disagreement against moral realism. Moral anti-realists have long suspected that something about the scope and/or nature of moral disagreement threatens moral realism, but existing arguments are either unsound, or rely upon premises which are too question-begging to anyone who does not already share anti-realist metaethical sympathies. This dissertation contends that moral anti-realism provides the best explanation of our view that we ought to hold onto our moral judgments in the face of disagreement about them. It contends that the most plausible view in the epistemology of disagreement tells us that, were our moral judgments the sorts of beliefs that the moral realist says they are, we should drop many of them in the face of disagreement about them which we encounter with people whom we have reason to trust. But we frequently judge that we should not do this. Moral anti-realism is the best explanation of this fact.


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