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My understanding is that for a moral realist, moral statements are propositions that have a true/false property that can guide reasoning. However, most articles I have read do not talk about what definition of "truth" they recommend using: is it correspondence? coherence? minimalism?

The Moral Realism, Semantics article on SEP about moral truths illustrates this quite well. On one hand, it seems like moral realists can redefine "truth" to denote a property in a minimalist sense making it hard to refute moral truths. On the other hand anti-realists can either question the redefinition or make further clarifications (as outlined in [1]) that make their stance seem much more draconian. As an observer, these disagreements seem more like word games without much insight. Am I missing something?

Another paragraph in Robert Audi's "Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge" says (page 270):

Noncognitivism must not be taken to imply that in moral matters "anything goes." It is still possible to hold an unreasonable moral attitude, say one based on misinformation or prejudice. The view can thus allow that there are even moral mistakes. But mistakes that are specifically moral are mistakes in attitude, not about what is true or false.

This seems to move the discussion from what "truth" means to what "attitude" means.

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(I see your question has not gotten answered in the 4 months that it was posted. Is it alright if I share what is logical to me?) Using the coherence theory of truth, when discussing moral statements, will likely produce the highest accuracy. But I can see that this method may be despised by many because it allows little room to believe what one wants to believe. Fewer and fewer people have the integrity to believe and act on a truth that they do not want to face and can somehow "step around". (Sorry if I took your question completely wrong.)

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  • Perhaps not an answer but a good point about integrity and coherence. I'd agree about coherence but it all depends on having sound axioms so I would say the 'framework' should be metaphysics and the standard of 'truth' (consistency) would be coherence with ones axioms. Hence Ethics is part of metaphysics and its truths must be judged in the same way as for any metaphysical issue. I don't think 'attitude' should have much to do with anything. ,. – user20253 Apr 9 at 16:06

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