Against Moral Intellectualism



This paper argues that non-cognitivism about moral judgements is compatible with moral realism. In order to reveal the possibility, and plausibility, of this hitherto under-explored position in metaethics, it surveys a series of four increasingly fine-grained formulations of the distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism. It argues that all but the last of these distinctions should be rejected, on the grounds that they lead advocates of non-cognitivism away from what initially motivated them to advocate non-cognitivism in the first place. One significant pay-off of this reconceived formulation of the cognitivism/non-cognitivism distinction is that it reveals what it would take to properly appreciate the place of virtue ethics in contemporary metaethical debates.