Schopenhauer and Non-Cognitivist Moral Realism

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Marshall, Colin. "Schopenhauer and Non-Cognitivist Moral Realism." Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2017): 293-316.

I argue that Schopenhauer’s views challenge the widely-held belief that moral realism requires cognitivism about moral judgments. Schopenhauer’s core metaethical view consists of two claims: that moral worth is attributed to actions based in compassion and that compassion, in contrast to egoism, arises from deep metaphysical insight into the non-distinctness of beings. These claims, I argue, are sufficient for moral realism, but are compatible with either cognitivism or non-cognitivism. While Schopenhauer’s views of moral judgment are not obviously consistent, I show how various passages suggest a form of non-cognitivism. This non-cognitivism, I claim, is compatible with moral realism.