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date: 03 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

According to this article, moral “properties,” such as rightness, are relations to the moral standards of relevant person(s). For example, there may be rightness-relative-to-Alice as distinct from rightness-relative-to-Bill, and an action that is right-relative-to-Alice might not be right-relative-to-Bill. Here is an analogy. Weight is a relation between an object's mass and the local gravitational field. This is why an object has a different weight on the moon than it has on the earth. The relevant gravitational field must be specified or assumed before one can fully understand an assertion to the effect that something has a given weight. Similarly, a system of moral rules must be specified or assumed in order to understand what proposition is expressed by an assertion to the effect that something is right or wrong. This article proposes a “speaker relativism,” according to which the moral system of the speaker is the relevant one.

Keywords: rightness, moral rules, gravitational field, speaker relativism, moral system

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