Exploring Intuitions on Moral Twin Earth: A Reply to Sonderholm

Terry Horgan, Mark Timmons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In his 2013 Theoria article, "Unreliable Intuitions: A New Reply to the Moral Twin-Earth Argument," Jorn Sonderholm attempts to undermine our moral twin earth (MTE) argument against Richard Boyd's moral semantics by debunking the semantic intuitions that are prompted by reflection on the thought experiment featured in the MTE argument. We divide our reply into three main sections. In section 1, we briefly review Boyd's moral semantics and our MTE argument against this view. In section 2, we set forth what we take to be Sonderholm's master debunking argument, along with his proposed Boydian explanation of the semantic intuitions he seeks to debunk. Then in section 3, we mount our defence of the semantic intuitions under scrutiny, arguing on abductive grounds that, contrary to Sonderholm, the semantic intuitions generated by reflection on MTE scenarios are to be trusted in evaluating the plausibility of Boydian moral semantics. Section 4 is our summary and conclusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-375
Number of pages21
JournalTheoria (Sweden)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2015


  • Jorn Sonderholm
  • Richard Boyd
  • debunking arguments
  • ethical naturalism
  • moral realism
  • moral semantics
  • moral twin earth
  • semantic intuitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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