Companions in Guilt: Arguments in Metaethics

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2021.09.03 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews
Christopher Cowie and Richard Rowland (eds.), Companions in Guilt: Arguments in Metaethics, Routledge, 2020, 232pp., $160.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138318335.
Reviewed by Luke Elson, University of Reading
The Moral Error Theory says that no positive moral claims (such as ‘murder is wrong’) are true. The most common argument for the theory is that the truth of such claims would involve the existence of objectionably ‘queer’ irreducibly normative or motivating properties (such as wrongness). In Mackie’s words, the queerness point is that it’s ‘in the end less paradoxical’ to reject the truth of positive moral claims than to accept their objectionable implications (1972: 42). Rather than directly arguing that (1) morality doesn’t really have the claimed implications, or (2) the implications are not so objectionable after all, ‘companions in guilt’ arguments (CGAs) purport to show that some other area of discourse also has those implications. CGAs do not offer…

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