In Defense of Anti-Archimedean Moral Realism: A Response to Recent Critics



Ronald Dworkin famously argued that many putatively nonmoral metaethical theories can only be understood as being internal to the moral domain. If correct, this position, referred to as anti-archimedeanism, has profound implications for the methodology of metaethics. This is particularly true for skeptical metaethical theories. This article defends a version of anti-archimedeanism that is true to the spirit rather than the letter of Dworkin's original thesis from several recent objections. First, it addresses Kenneth Ehrenberg's recent attempt to demonstrate how certain metaethical theories can be understood in a morally neutral manner. It then discusses Charles Pigden's claim that Dworkin begs the question against error theorists and nihilists by assuming a conceptual space that error theorists and nihilists would reject. It concludes that the anti-archimedean methodology originally proposed by Dworkin is defensible, and can be used to support a robust form of moral realism.