LAW214-LAWS805_TBa_45-86.pdf

People do that flavors of ice cream have gen uine

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people do) that flavors of ice cream have gen - uine aesthetic value, so I would say only that I prefer rum raisin and would not add (though some of them would) that rum raisin is really or objectively the best flavor.^® We also use the language of objectivity to distinguish between claims meant to hold only for persons with particular beliefs or connections or needs or interests (perhaps only for the speaker) and those meant to hold impersonally for everyone. Suppose I say I must dedicate my life to reducing the threat of nuclear war. It makes sense to ask whether I think this duty holds objectively for everyone or just for those who feel, as I do, a special compulsion in this issue. I combined these two uses of objective language in the conversation I just imagined about slavery. I said slavery was real - ly wrong, and the rest, to make plain that my opinion was a moral judgment and that I thought slavery was wrong
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82 INTERPRETIVE CONCEPTS everywhere, not just in communities whose traditions con - demned it. So if someone says I am mistaken in this judg - ment, and our disagreement is genuine, he must mean to express the opinion that slavery is not wrong everywhere, or perhaps that it is not wrong at all. That is a version of inter - nal skepticism: it could be defended only by moral argu - ments of some kind, for example by appealing to a form of moral relativism that holds that true morality consists only in following the traditions of one s community. So there is no important difference in philosophical cate - gory or standing between the statement that slavery is wrong and the statement that there is a right answer to the question of slavery, namely that it is wrong. I cannot intelligibly hold the first opinion as a moral opinion without also holding the second. Since external skepticism offers no reason to retract or modify the former, it offers no reason to retract or modify the latter either. They are both statements within rather than about the enterprise of morality. Unlike the global form of internal skepticism, therefore, genuine external skepticism cannot threaten any interpretive project. Even if we think we understand and accept that form of skepticism, it can provide no reason why we should not also think that slavery is wrong, that Hamlet is about ambiguity and that courtesy ignores rank, or, what comes to the same thing, that each of these positions is better (or is “really better) than its rivals. If we were external skeptics, then in a calm philosoph - ical moment, away from the moral or interpretive wars, we would take an externally skeptical view of the philosophical standing of all these opinions. We would classify them all as projections rather than discoveries. But we would not dis - criminate among them by supposing that only the latter were mistakes. I hasten to add that recognizing the crucial point I have been stressing that the objective beliefs most of us have are moral, not metaphysical, beliefs, that they only repeat and
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