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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the shift in the concept of realism and relativism in ethics in early modern Europe. It suggests that the problem of the nature and foundations of moral rightness and moral obligation became visible to philosophers of the early modern period as they began to reconsider the problems of error, superstition, and illusion to question traditional authorities and to devote attention to scientific methodology and the logic of discovery. It contends that the doctrine that qualities are perceiver-relative, combined with an increased awareness of other ages and cultures, made moral relativism an attractive position, even while its less attractive implications were grasped at the same time.

Keywords: realism, relativism, ethics, Europe, moral rightness, moral obligation, scientific methodology

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