Metaethics after Moore

Terry Horgan, Mark Timmons

Research output: Book/ReportBook

33 Scopus citations


In How Should Ethics Relate to (the rest of) Philosophy?, Stephen Darwall challenges both the claims of independence and priority. He argues that although metaethics and normative ethics are properly focused on different issues, they need to be brought into a dynamic relation with one another in order to produce a systematic and defensible philosophical ethics. Their mutual dependence, claims Darwall, is owing to the fact that issues of normativity are at the centre of the concerns of both metaethics and normative ethics. In making his case, Darwall examines Moore's doctrine that an irreducible notion of intrinsic value is fundamental in ethics, and argues that although Moore was correct in thinking that ethical notions are irreducible, he was incorrect in thinking that this is because they have a notion of intrinsic value at their core. Rather, according to Darwall, the notion of a normative reason is ethically fundamental, and a proper philosophical ethics that fully accommodates the normativity involved in ethical thought and discourse will require that metaethical issues and normative issues bearing on normativity be 'pursued interdependently as complementary aspects of a comprehensive philosophical ethics'. He illustrates this claim by explaining how certain debates within normative ethics over consequentialism and over virtue depend upon metaethical issues about the nature of normativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages416
ISBN (Electronic)9780191710032
ISBN (Print)0199269912, 9780199269914
StatePublished - Jan 26 2006


  • Consequentialism
  • Ethical thought
  • Independence
  • Intrinsic value
  • Metaethics
  • Moore
  • Normative ethics
  • Normativity
  • Priority
  • Virtue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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