Can We Believe The Error Theory?
by Bart Streumer (2013)
According to the error theory, normative judgements are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, even though such properties do not exist. In this paper, I argue that we cannot believe the error theory, and that this means that there is no reason for us to believe this theory. It may be thought that this is a problem for the error theory, but I argue that it is not. Instead, I argue, our inability to believe the error theory undermines many objections that have been made to this theory.
This matters even if my arguments for the error theory fail. For it is often suggested that the arguments for an error theory about moral judgements actually support an error theory about all normative judgements, and this is often taken to be an objection to an error theory about moral judgements. Error theorists about moral judgements can answer this objection by endorsing what I say in this paper.
This paper consists of six sections. In section I, I argue that we cannot believe the error theory. In section II, I argue that this means that there is no reason for us to believe this theory. In sections III and IV, I argue that, instead of being a problem for the error theory, our inability to believe the error theory undermines many objections that have been made to this theory. In sections V and VI, I discuss three objections to my arguments, and I show that a common reaction to the error theory supports my view.
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