Moral Realism's Indispensability Argument Essay

Moral Realism's Indispensability Argument Essay

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There are many arguments for moral realism, one of which is presented by David Enoch, who posits a unique explanation of how normative truths can exist. He argues for moral realism by using his Indispensability Argument, which explains the necessity of normative facts in deliberation. I will argue that Enoch’s claim is valid in that it fairs well against opposition, however it shows weakness by not addressing moral subjectivity.
To begin, David Enoch defends moral realism using his Indispensability Argument. Firstly, Enoch argues that universally objective and irreducible normative (and by extension moral) truths do exist, or at the very least people are justified in believing in them. His argument for their existence encompasses the idea that normative truths are indispensable to human deliberation and decision making. That is to say, when people are deliberating they make reference to these universal normative truths, about what they ought and not ought to do in certain situations. This type of deliberation is separate from such acts as simply “picking” or following something such as desire, although both have phenomenal characteristics. Picking, he argues, is more or less like making an arbitrary decision, such as which flavor of chips to buy. However, deliberation is different, wherein it aims to make the “right” or “correct” decision, which is why it is related to morality. An example of this might be something as simple as figuring out which bus gets from point A to point B faster, which involves there being a correct answer, as well as something more complex, such as whether one should lie to his/her friend in order to protect them from emotional pain. Basically, intuitively, people tend to feel what the “right” and “...

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...argument for moral realism is strong, however, as he says, it leaves room for improvement. In separating deliberating from other kinds of decision making, and then showing how normative facts meet the criterion of indispensability, he easily meets Harman’s challenge. Additionally, he refutes what I regard as the major objections against him by showing how normative truths can still play a role in deliberation, even when other things such as desires and disbelief are factored in. He also makes a strong case as to why his indispensability argument is better than its alternatives, although some vagueness begins to show in terms of subjective truths. So, overall, it seems that he does a good job of justifying the existence of normative truths by explaining their indispensability to deliberation, however, whether they are objective or not still remains questionable.

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