The Hare-Horgan-Timmons argument against descriptivism

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Krzysztof Saja


In recent years, with the appearance of a new wave of realism and non-descriptivism, the old dispute in meta-ethics between cognitivism and non-cognitivism has resurfaced. At present one of the most intensely discussed arguments among meta-ethicists is the so-called Moral Twin Earth argument of Terrence Horgan and Mark Timmons. It was presented in a series of articles published at the beginning of the nineties. However, a similar argument was put forth much earlier by Richard Hare, though the participants of the discussion that has arisen in connection with the Moral Twin Earth have passed over it in silence. It appeared for the first time at the beginning of the fifties in The Language of Morals as the Missionary and the Cannibal Islands argument. Hare later renamed it the Reductio ad Absurdum of Descriptivism in an article published in 1986 under the same name. Since then he has made it as his basic instrument against descriptivism. In the present article the author (1) outlines the argument of Moral Twin Earth, (2) presents its prototype, and (3) offers a concise criticism of it.


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Saja, Krzysztof. 2005. “The Hare-Horgan-Timmons Argument Against Descriptivism”. Diametros, no. 3 (March):56-74.
Author Biography

Krzysztof Saja, Uniwersytet Jagielloński

Krzysztof Saja, stopień naukowy: magister; Promotor pracy doktorskiej – prof. dr hab. Mirosław Rutkowski Prowadzę zajęcia w IF US.
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