Modest Quasi-Realism and the Problem of Deep Moral Error

Terence E Horgan, Mark Timmons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Simon Blackburn's quasi-realist program seeks to accommodate the deeply embedded assumptions of commonsense morality, one of which is the thought that one's current moral conviction on some topic might be mistaken. Some errors in moral belief are due to mistaken (non-moral) factual beliefs, which present no particular challenge to the moral quasi-realist. More worrisome is the thought that one may be mistaken at the level of one's current moral standards. The challenge of making sense of first-person affirmations of the possibility of deep moral error represents a hard challenge to the quasi-realist. Although Blackburn has addressed the issue of deep moral error, this chapter aims to offer a more detailed irrealist expressivist treatment of moral error than has hitherto been offered by Blackburn or by other expressivists. This will advance the cause of quasi-realism and that of moral expressivism generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPassions and Projections
Subtitle of host publicationThemes from the Philosophy of Simon Blackburn
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191789717
ISBN (Print)9780198723172
StatePublished - Jan 22 2015


  • Blackburn
  • Expressivism
  • Irrealism
  • Moral error
  • Quasi-realism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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