I want to construct an ethics system, my ethics. When I studied logic was very fruitful to understand the theory of the theory of logic (meta-theory). Now I want to learn about ethics because I want to construct my ethics, so I must know what I am going to construct and I know that a meta-theory of ethics could help me. Can someone please provide some references?

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    Consider that meta-ethics strictly means ethics of ethics, which is different to "meta-theory of ethics" (the theory behind the theory of ethics), and "meta-ethics-theory", the theory behind any ethics theory (which is what you seem to target). I've edited your question, but suggest you to fix such glitch, because I might just be misunderstanding. I've provided an answer for a "meta-ethics-theory" below.
    – RodolfoAP
    Jul 3, 2021 at 6:47

3 Answers 3


One of the classical books on metaethics is

William K. Frankena: Ethics. Prentice-Hall 1963


A good historical introduction is Alasdair MacIntyre's A Short History of Ethics. He covers Plato and Aristotle, Hobbes and Spinoza, Hume and Kant, Hegel and Nietsche, and some of the 20th century ethicists. It was written in 1967, so it doesn't cover very recent work.


One book that is not just one ethics but actually "meta-ethics" is Christine Korsgaard's Sources of Normativity. It goes over the different types of justifications given for different moral theories and ultimately she gives a Kantian defense. It covers moral realism, voluntarism, and constructionist views. Not sure about what anti-realism is so dont think thats in there, but the book was written in the 90's so...yea.

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