Does anyone know any good books on the topic of moral realism / moral relativism? The kind of book I would most prefer would be one that would address both (realism and relativism) from a completely objective point of view, discussing the "pros and cons" of both of them. Other sources are welcome too, but mainly I'm looking for a book/books.

  • 2
    There's no such thing as a "completely objective point of view, discussing the 'pros and cons' of them both."
    – virmaior
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


One of the more commonly used chapters in ethics classes is James Rachels' chapter on Moral Relativism in The Elements of Moral Philosophy. It's a chapter explaining some of the basic difficulties faced by moral relativism as a palatable moral theory.

For defenses of moral relativism, two of the more famous defenders are David Wong and David Velleman. Wong's book Natural Moralities: A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism (reviewed at NDPR here). I'm no as familiar with Vellerman's arguments.

Another think defending moral relativism is Gilbert Harman. See "Moral Relativism Defended" (jstor) and "Moral Relativism Explained" (from his personal site).

Returning to who doesn't agree with moral relativism: Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Locke, ... and most figures in the history of philosophy. A contemporary philosopher who argues against it is Peter Kreeft (see here). Charles Taylor also rejects it at length in his books.


"After Virtue" by Alasdair MacIntyre is a major landmark in contemporary moral philosophy. I don't know if it will answer your specific question but it's one of those works that count as required ready for anybody working in that area.

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