Metaethics: A Contemporary Introduction provides a solid foundation in metaethics for advanced undergraduates by introducing a series of puzzles that most metaethical theories address. These puzzles involve moral disagreement, reference, moral epistemology, metaphysics, and moral psychology. From there, author Mark van Roojen discusses the many positions in metaethics that people will take in reaction to these puzzles. Van Roojen asks several essential questions of his readers, namely: What is metaethics? Why study it? How does one discuss metaethics, given its inherently controversial nature? Each chapter closes with questions, both for reading comprehension and further discussion, and annotated suggestions for further reading.
"The contemporary landscape of metaethics is a topsy-turvy field of complex contributions, new twists on old views, and fundamental disputes about how, even, to describe the basic questions under dispute. In Metaethics: A Contemporary Introduction, one of the masters of the craft cuts through this complexity in order to put readers in a position to see the compelling philosophical problems that lead to these different comprehensive theories."
Mark Schroeder, University of Southern California, USA
"Beautifully conceived, this book begins by explaining three central goals that drive much contemporary metaethical theorizing: to provide a plausible conception of the subject-matter of ethical thought and talk, to explain the practicality of ethics, and to explain the possibility and texture of ethical knowledge. The book then uses these goals to motivate and evaluate systematic metaethical theories, from simple views that are often used as instructive foils to the most influential contemporary options. Fair-minded, illuminating, and accessible to the neophyte, this is an invaluable resource for students and teachers of introductory courses in metaethics."
Tristram McPherson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
"Mark van Roojen's new work is now the finest book of its kind. It is focused on the right questions, it sympathetically reconstructs and fairly criticizes the major arguments offered for the major metaethical positions, and it is informed throughout by a deep familiarity with the philosophical terrain. This will be a huge help for those seeking to acquaint themselves with the history of metaethics over the past two generations. This is a terrific book."
Russ Shafer-Landau, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Acknowledgments. 1. Introduction. 2. A Subject Matter for Ethics. 3. Moral Epistemology and the Empirical Under-Determination of Ethical Theory. 4. The Practicality of Morality and the Humean Conception of Reason and Motivation 5. Error Theory. 6. Simple Subjectivism. 7. The Cognitivist Heirs of Simple Subjectivism – Ideal Observers and Ideal Agents. 8. Noncognitivist Heirs of Simple Subjectivism. 9. Fictionalism. 10. Externalist Backlash. 11. Scientific Naturalism I: Cornell Realism. 12. Scientific Realism II: Moral Functionalism and Network Analyses. 13. Nonnaturalism and Anti-Reductionism. 14. Odds, Ends and Morals. Glossary
An innovative, well structured series, the Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy are designed for students who already have completed an introductory-level course in philosophy. Each book introduces a core general subject in contemporary philosophy and offers students an accessible but substantial transition from introductory to higher-level college work in that subject. The series is accessible to non-specialists and each book clearly motivates and expounds the problems and positions introduced. An orientating chapter briefly introduces its topic and reminds readers of any crucial material they need to have retained from a typical introductory course. Considerable attention is given to explaining central philosophical problems of a subject and the main competing solutions and arguments for those solutions. The primary aim is to educate students in the main problems, positions and arguments of contemporary philosophy rather than to convince students of a single position.