Back to overview

Utilitarianism for the Error Theorist

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Jaquet François,
Project Normative Issues in Metaethics
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal The Journal of Ethics
Title of proceedings The Journal of Ethics
DOI 10.1007/s10892-020-09339-x


The moral error theory has become increasingly popular in recent decades. So much so indeed that a new issue emerged, the so-called “now-what problem”: if all our moral beliefs are false, then what should we do with them? So far, philosophers who are interested in this problem have focused their attention on the mode of the atti- tudes we should have with respect to moral propositions. Some have argued that we should keep holding proper moral beliefs; others that we should replace our moral beliefs with ctional attitudes, beliefs in natural facts, or conative attitudes. But all these philosophers have set aside an important question about the content of these attitudes: which moral propositions, and more generally which moral theory, should we accept? The present paper addresses this neglected issue, arguing that moral error theorists should adopt a utilitarian moral ction. In other words, they should accept the set of moral principles whose general acceptance would maximize overall well-being.