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date: 24 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Although some environmental ethicists have taken up metaethical questions in their work, the relevance of metaethics to environmental ethics has been a point of controversy in the field. This chapter reviews the environmental ethics literature on metaethics, considering what legitimate interest environmental ethics might have in metaethical issues. It reviews the main positions in contemporary metaethics, as well as the claims that environmental ethicists have looked to metaethics to vindicate. Ultimately it argues that metaethics is not entirely irrelevant to environmental ethics, as some critics have claimed. However, contemporary metaethics is able to address the concerns of environmental ethicists from a number of different theoretical perspectives.

Keywords: metaethics, normativity, intrinsic value, cognitivism, noncognitivism, realism, antirealism, objectivity, naturalism

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