By Sabina Lovibond
During this metaethics monograph, Lovibond defends a Wittgenstein-influenced type of ethical realism.
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Consider, for instance, the following passage from Language, 1 Foot, Virtues and Vices, p. 105. 43 Truth and Logic, in which Ayer seeks to show that what we call 'moral argument' is really empirical argument set against a background of shared evaluative attitudes and assumptions: When someone disagrees with us about the moral value of a certain action or type of action, we do admittedly resort to argument in order to win him over to our way of thinking. But we do not attempt to show by our arguments that he had the 'wrong' ethical feeling towards a situation whose nature he has correctly apprehended.
What we attempt to show is that he is mistaken about the facts of the case ... We do this in the hope that we have only to get our opponent to agree with us about the nature of the empirical facts for him to adopt the same moral attitude towards them as we do. And as the people with whom we argue have generally received the same moral education as ourselves, and live in the same social order, our expectation is usually justified. 4 Ayer's account represents moral argument as a procedure whereby one party brings evidence for his conclusion relevant considerations - in the confidence that the other party, having received much the same kind of education and training and thus having assimilated much the same idea of what counts as a telling argument, will be persuaded of the truth of that conclusion.
And Dummett goes on to say that it must be possible to specify non-trivially the appropriate method of verification for any class of statements whose meaning is to be conceived in realist terms. ' 2 In what follows, I shall confine my attention to one particular account which the moral realist can give of his position: an account designed to meet the legitimate demand, implicit in the sentences just quoted from Dummett, for an 1 ! Cf. Platts, Ways of Meaning, p. 2. Dummett in hans and McDowell (eds), p.