Absent from this discussion about ethics are those who are moral skeptics. These
people do not believe that:
there is no adequate reason for moral belief, or
there is never enough reason to act morally.
Moral skepticism can be refined into more specific denials:
1. Denial of moral reality
Some believe that moral beliefs can be false and that moral beliefs cannot be true unless based
on fact. Moral skeptics do not believe that moral facts or properties exist.
2. Denial of moral truth
Some believe that moral belief is neither true or false. They hold
that moral belief are expressions of emotion or opinion and therefore cannot be evaluated
as a truth.
3. Denial of moral knowledge
Some doubt that moral knowledge is possible; some assert that it is impossible. They believe
that no one knows whether moral knowledge is true or false.
4. Denial of justified moral belief
Some believe that no one is justified in living by a moral belief. If there isn’t any moral
reality, moral beliefs cannot be true, moral beliefs cannot be known to be true, and moral beliefs cannot be
justified as an independent truth.
While the conclusions of moral skepticism suggest immorality, it is important to note that moral skeptics can
act morally and hold to a moral belief that is virtuous. It is this contradiction and paradox that many non-theists
are not moral skeptics. If they deny moral reality, moral truth, moral belief, or justified moral belief,
how can a moral skeptic claim to be a moral or good person or have any moral belief?
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