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This article aims to bring some of the general underlying questions that hover in the background of meta-ethical discussions into the foreground and then to suggest some answers. An initial question that hovers in the background of discussions in meta-ethics is why we bother thinking about meta-ethical questions in the first place, as opposed to meta-level questions about other normative domains. Coming up with an answer to this question forces us to address a fundamental issue about the normative force of moral claims. It is uncontroversial that there are multiple systems of norms. There are norms of rationality, norms of morality, legal norms, norms of etiquette, professional codes of conduct, norms that govern games, and so on.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577109
ISBN (Print)9780199234769
StatePublished - Nov 29 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Codes of conduct
  • Meta-ethics
  • Meta-level questions
  • Moral claims
  • Normative domain
  • Systems of norms


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