LAW214-LAWS805_TBa_45-86.pdf

To those he rejects he only insists that all these

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to those he rejects. He only insists that all these opinions are projected upon, not discovered in, reality. There is an ancient and flourishing philosophical debate about whether external skepticism, particularly external skepticism directed to morality, is a significant theory and, if it is, whether it is right.I shall not enter that debate now, except to consider whether external skepticism, if it is sound, would in any way condemn the belief interpreters commonly have: that one interpretation of some text or social practice can be on balance better than others, that there can be a right answer to the question which is best even when it is controversial what the right answer is.^^ That depends on how these objective beliefs (as we might call them) should be understood. Suppose I say that slavery is wrong. I pause, and then I add a second group of statements: I say that slav- ery is “really or objectively wrong, that this is not just a matter of opinion, that it would be true even if I (and every - one else) thought otherwise, that it gives the “right answer to the question whether slavery is wrong, that the contrary answer is not just different but mistaken. What is the rela - tion between my original opinion that slavery is wrong and these various objective judgments I added to it? Here is one suggestion. The objective statements I added are meant to supply some special kind of evidence for my original opinion or some justification for my acting on it. They are meant to suggest that I can prove slavery is wrong the way I might prove some claim of physics, by arguments of fact or logic every rational person must accept: by show - ing that atmospheric moral quaverings confirm my opinion.
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INTERPRETIVE CONCEPTS 8l 4 for example, or that it matches a noumenal metaphysical fact. If this were the right way to understand my objective claims, then my claims would assert what external skepti - cism denies: that moral judgments are descriptions of some special metaphysical moral realm. But it is not the right way to understand them. No one who says slavery is really wrong thinks he has thereby given, or even suggeste^ an ar - gument why it is. (How could quaverings or noumehal enti - ties provide any argument for moral convictions?) The only kind of evidence I could have for my view that slavery is wrong, the only kind of justification I could have for acting on that view, is some substantive moral argument of a kind the objective claims do not even purport to supply. The actual connection between my original judgment about slavery and my later objective comments is very dif - ferent. We use the language of objectivity, not to give our or - dinary moral or interpretive claims a bizarre metaphysical base, but to repeat them, perhaps in a more precise way, to emphasize or qualify their content. We use that language, for example, to distinguish genuine moral (or interpretive or aesthetic), claims from mere reports of taste. I do not believe (though some
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