Indeterminacy and variability in meta-ethics

Michael B. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In the mid-20th century, descriptive meta-ethics addressed a number of central questions, such as whether there is a necessary connection between moral judgment and motivation, whether moral reasons are absolute or relative, and whether moral judgments express attitudes or describe states of affairs. I maintain that much of this work in mid-20th century meta-ethics proceeded on an assumption that there is good reason to question. The assumption was that our ordinary discourse is uniform and determinate enough to vindicate one side or the other of these meta-ethical debates. I suggest that ordinary moral discourse may be much less uniform and determinate than 20th century meta-ethics assumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-234
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • David Brink
  • Externalism
  • Internalism
  • Meta-ethics
  • Michael Smith
  • R.M. Hare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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