Reid on moral sentimentalism

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In the Essays on the Active Powers of Man V. 7, Thomas Reid seeks to show "[t]hat moral approbation implies a real judgment," contrasting this thesis with the view that moral approbation is no more than a feeling. Unfortunately, his criticism of moral sentimentalism systematically conflates two different metaethical views: non-cognitivism about moral thought and subjectivism about moral properties. However, if we properly disentangle the various parts of Reid's discussion, we can isolate pertinent arguments against each of these views. Some of these arguments, such as the argument from disagreement and the argument from implausible counterfactuals against subjectivism, or the transparency argument against non-cognitivism, still have important roles to play in contemporary metaethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-444
Number of pages14
JournalRes Philosophica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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