Preston Werner


Stance-independent nonnaturalist moral realism is subject to two related epistemological objections. First, there is the metaethical descendant of the Benacerraf problem. Second, there are evolutionary debunking arguments. Standard attempts to solve these epistemological problems have not appealed to any particular moral epistemology. The focus on these epistemologically neutral responses leaves many interesting theoretical stones unturned. Exploring the ability of particular theories in moral epistemology to handle these difficult epistemological objections can help illuminate strengths or weaknesses within these theories themselves, as well as opening up potentially unexplored avenues for responding to deeply entrenched concerns about our epistemic access to the moral properties. In this paper, I assess the prospects of an empiricist and perceptualist model of moral knowledge for responding to epistemological arguments against non-skeptical moral realism. I argue that such a view has powerful responses to these objections that are not open to other moral epistemologists. The upshot is that if some version of the view is correct, then the realist has less to fear from Benacerraf and evolutionary debunking–style epistemological objections. Insofar as one is already a committed realist, then, this provides some indirect support for moral perceptualism.