January 28 Lecture Notes
Error Theory and J.L. Mackie
Mackie’s Error Theory: Moral sentences are capable of being true or false, but they are always
false because there are no moral facts (Nihilism)
• Nihilism is the claim that there are no moral facts
• They are false because they imply the existence of something that doesn’t exist
o “You are a witch” is false because witches do not exist.
Argument from Relativity:
• 1) Different societies have different moral codes.
• 2) If different societies have different moral codes, then Realism is not true.
• 3) Therefore realism is not true.
• In Modus Ponens logical argument format, thus it is valid
• “Societies have different sets of beliefs because they have different influencers acting on
them” is a better explanation than “Societies have a different set of morals because
some misperceive the moral facts while others do not.”
• Moral code is a set of beliefs tha