Truth Relativism and Moral Realism
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This paper's goal is to present truth relativism as a plausible way of accounting for the context-sensitivity of moral claims that can, nevertheless, retain a realist moral theory. The motivation is to combine the strength of relativism in accounting for the seeming context- sensitivity of moral claims with the traditional intuition of moral realism. This will consist in largely two parts. First is to argue for the plausibility of truth relativism, specifically in application to moral expressions. To do so, this paper discusses the notion of monadic truth and the contextualist semantics associated with it. It then explains the notion of relative truth and a relativistic semantics, making the argument that relativism does better than contextualism. After that, it addresses a few objections, which involves a discussion of non- indexical contextualism and the problem of indefinite assessment. The second part of the project is to provide a few different possible explanations for how relativism and moral realism can be compatible. I do not aim to advocate for any particular realist theory; I simply want to show that at least some possible realist theories are compatible with relativism such that the topic warrants further inquiry.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2016
- F&M Theses Collection