How do moral anti-realists decide what to do?

I know there's something out there, like Mackie. Could be some interesting answers, out there

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    Do you have a reference for Mackie? It may help to provide more information in general about the question. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 3:09
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    Wow. I'm going to put that up on the mantle beside "Why are there not more people who believe in solipsism?" Well done.
    – user34017
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 4:06
  • @puppetsock what do you mean? it's fine that you're being sarcastic, but it's very unheplful
    – user34105
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 6:18
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    I'm not being sarcastic. If solipsism is right there $are$ no "other people." If anti-realists are right then they have no basis for choice. It's a fabulous question. Sincerely respectful. I gave it an up vote.
    – user34017
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 15:40
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    Using subjective values, based on people goals. If they are not based on personal goals nor on objective moral facts, they are expressions.
    – rus9384
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


Mackie is well known for arguing for a world without values, but that he claims "moral requirements are reasons for action that are unconditional upon the agent's desires" (Moral Relativism and Reasons for Action p50). So a follower of him would want to answer by explaining how we know our desires, and why it is that what is conditional upon our desires can motivate action, not moral ones.

Can Mackie's "reasons for action" motivate action if there are no values? Bart Streumer suggests that the error theorist's argument against values might also apply to all normative judgments, including reasons for belief, and reasons for action.

However, Streumer suggests that, instead of giving up on error theory, we accept that we can't believe it.

I'm not sure why there was a sarcastic comment about it being self contradictory. In all honesty, few philosophers would hold the belief that moral knowledge is trivially impossible, let alone that the belief we have moral knowledge is.

  • Who are the people who express "some disagreement"? It would be good to find the name of the philosopher who writes that we cannot help but believe we have moral philosophy. Did Mackie write Moral Relatvism and Reasons for Action? It seems from Google Scholar that Streiffer did. Welcome to this SE. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 12:54

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