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Philosophy Compass 2 2007 10 1111 j 1747 9991 2007 00100 x Blackwell Oxford Philosophy PHCO 1747 9991 October 10 1111 j 1747 9991 2007 00100 x 100 1 0 Ethics 30 Four 2007 Faces UK The 2007 Publishing ofCompass Author Moral Realism Journal Ltd Compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd Four Faces of Moral Realism Stephen Finlay University of Southern California Abstract This article explains for a general philosophical audience the central issues and strategies in the contemporary moral realism debate It critically surveys the contribution of some recent scholarship representing expressivist and pragmatist nondescriptivism Mark Timmons Hilary Putnam subjectivist and nonsubjectivist naturalism Michael Smith Paul Bloomfield Philippa Foot nonnaturalism Russ Shafer Landau T M Scanlon and error theory Richard Joyce Four different faces of moral realism are distinguished semantic ontological metaphysical and normative The debate is presented as taking shape under dialectical pressure from the demands of i capturing the moral appearances and ii reconciling morality with our understanding of the mind and world The contemporary debate over moral realism a century after it was launched by G E Moore s Principa Ethica is a tangled and bewildering web This is largely due to dramatic differences in what philosophers assume it is about This article distinguishes and explains the central issues and strategies for a general philosophical audience through a critical survey of some recent contributions to the literature 1 A pivotal problem is the lack of consensus over what realism should mean in the context of ethics we shall see that the variety of metaethical claims labeled realist cannot be collectively characterized any less vaguely than as holding that morality in some form has some kind or other of independence from people s attitudes or practices 2 We look in vain for a reference for morality and a kind of attitude independence common throughout the debate Furthermore there is



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