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  • 1.
    Björkholm, Stina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Bykvist, Krister
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Quasi-realism and normative certitude2020In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 198, p. 7861-7869Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Just as we can be more or less certain that there is extraterrestrial life or that Goldbach’s conjecture is correct, we can be more or less certain about normative matters, such as whether euthanasia is permissible or whether utilitarianism is true. However, accommodating the phenomenon of degrees of normative certitude is a difficult challenge for non-cognitivist and expressivist views, according to which normative judgements are desire-like attitudes rather than beliefs (Smith, in: Evaluation, Uncertainty, and Motivation. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5: 305–320, 2002). Several attempts have been made on behalf of non-cognitivism and expressivism to meet the challenge (Lenman in: Non-cognitivism and the dimensions of evaluative judgment, Brown Electronic Article Review Service, 2003; Ridge in Synthese 2003. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-1884-7; Ridge in: Shafer-Landau (ed) Studies in metaethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007; Sepielli in Philos Stud 160: 191–207, 2012; Eriksson and Francén Olinder in Aust J Philos 94: 719–735, 2016). These attempts have all been found wanting (Bykvist and Olson in Philos Q 59:202–215, 2009, Aust J Philos 95:794–799, 2017; Bykvist and Olson 2012). Michael Ridge has recently offered a quasi-realist solution, according to which expressivists can say exactly what cognitivists say about certitude, including normative certitude. In this paper, we explain the basic problem and Ridge’s quasi-realist solution. We then argue that the quasi-realist account of normative certitude faces severe difficulties that do not arise for cognitivist accounts, according to which normative judgements are beliefs.

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  • 2.
    Bykvist, Krister
    et al.
    Jesus College, Oxford, UK.
    Olson, Jonas
    Brasenose College, Oxford, UK.
    Expressivism and Moral Certitude2009In: The Philosophical Quarterly, ISSN 0031-8094, E-ISSN 1467-9213, Vol. 59, no 235, p. 202-215Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Michael Smith has recently argued that non-cognitivists are unable to accommodate crucialstructural features of moral belief, and in particular that non-cognitivists have trouble accounting forsubjects’ certitude with respect to their moral beliefs. James Lenman and Michael Ridge haveindependently constructed ‘ecumenical’ versions of non-cognitivism, intended to block this objection.We argue that these responses do not work. If ecumenical non-cognitivism, a hybrid view whichincorporates both non-cognitivist and cognitivist elements, fails to meet Smith’s challenge, it isunlikely that ‘purer’ and more familiar versions of non-cognitivism will succeed.

  • 3.
    Bykvist, Krister
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Matti Eklund, Choosing Normative Concepts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)2019In: Utilitas, ISSN 0953-8208, E-ISSN 1741-6183, Vol. 31, no 3, p. 343-347Article, book review (Other academic)
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  • 4.
    Bykvist, Krister
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Non-Cognitivism and Fundamental Moral Certitude: Reply to Eriksson and Francén Olinder2017In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0004-8402, E-ISSN 1471-6828, Vol. 95, no 4, p. 794-799Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Accommodating degrees of moral certitude is a serious problem for non-cognitivism about ethics. In particular, non-cognitivism has trouble accommodating fundamental moral certitude. John Eriksson and Ragnar Francén Olinder [2016] have recently proposed a solution. In fact, Eriksson and Francén Olinder offer two different proposals—one ‘classification’ account and one ‘projectivist’ account. We argue that the classification account faces the same problem as previous accounts do, while the projectivist account has unacceptable implications. Non-cognitivists will have to look elsewhere for a plausible solution to the problem of accommodating fundamental moral certitude.

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  • 5.
    Bykvist, Krister
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Om moraliska övertygelsers styrka och emotivismens svaghet2010In: Filosofisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0348-7482, Vol. 4Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Bykvist, Krister
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    What Matters in Metaethics2019In: Analysis, ISSN 0003-2638, E-ISSN 1467-8284, Vol. 79, no 2, p. 341-349Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 7. Danielsson, Sven
    et al.
    Olson, Jonas
    Brasenose College, Oxford, UK.
    Brentano and the Buck-Passers2007In: Mind (Print), ISSN 0026-4423, E-ISSN 1460-2113, Vol. 116, no 463, p. 511-522Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to T. M. Scanlon's 'buck-passing' analysis of value, x is good means that x has properties that provide reasons to take up positive attitudes vis-à-vis x. Some authors have claimed that this idea can be traced back to Franz Brentano, who said in 1889 that the judgement that x is good is the judgement that a positive attitude to x is correct ('richtig'). The most discussed problem in the recent literature on buck-passing is known as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem (the WKR problem): it seems quite possible that there is sometimes reason to favour an object although that object is not good and possibly very evil. The problem is to delineate exactly what distinguishes reasons of the right kind from reasons of the wrong kind. In this paper we offer a Brentano-style solution. We also note that one version of the WKR problem was put forward by G. E. Moore in his review of the English translation of Brentano's Vom Ursprung sittlicher Erkenntnis. Before getting to how our Brentano-style approach might offer a way out for Brentano and the buck-passers, we briefly consider and reject an interesting attempt to solve the WKR problem recently proposed by John Skorupski.

  • 8.
    Eriksson, Björn
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Moral Practice after Error Theory: Negotiationism2019In: The End of Morality: Taking Moral Abolitionism Seriously / [ed] Richard Joyce, Richard Garner, New York: Routledge, 2019, p. 113-130Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We first deal with a few preliminary matters and discuss what-if any-distinct  impact belief in moral error theory should have on our moral practice. Second,  we describe what is involved in giving an answer to our leading question and take  notice of some factors that are relevant to what an adequate answer might look  like. We also argue that the specific details of adequate answers to our leading  question will depend largely on context. Third, we consider three extant answers  to our leading question: fictionalism, conservationism, and abolitionism. Of these  three, conservationism seems most promising. However, conservationism leaves  pertinent questions unanswered. In order to provide answers to these questions,  and ultimately to provide an answer to our leading question, conservationism  needs to be supplemented, yielding an account we call “negotiationism.” This  final proposal is not neat and tidy, but it might work reasonably well in the moral  environment in which error theorists are likely to find themselves.

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  • 9. Hirose, Iwao
    et al.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Introduction to Value Theory2015In: The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory / [ed] Iwao Hirose, Jonas Olson, New York: Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 1-9Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 10. Hirose, Iwao
    et al.
    Olson, JonasStockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory2015Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Value theory, or axiology, looks at what things are good or bad, how good or bad they are, and, most fundamentally, what it is for a thing to be good or bad. Questions about value and about what is valuable are important to moral philosophers, since most moral theories hold that we ought to promote the good (even if this is not the only thing we ought to do). This Handbook focuses on value theory as it pertains to ethics, broadly construed, and provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary debates pertaining not only to philosophy but also to other disciplines-most notably, political theory and economics.

    The Handbook's twenty-two newly commissioned chapters are divided into three parts. Part I: Foundations concerns fundamental and interrelated issues about the nature of value and distinctions between kinds of value. Part II: Structure concerns formal properties of value that bear on the possibilities of measuring and comparing value. Part III: Extensions, finally, considers specific topics, ranging from health to freedom, where questions of value figure prominently.

  • 11. Johansson, Jens
    et al.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Against pluralism in metaethics2015In: The Palgrave handbook of philosophical methods / [ed] Christopher Daly, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, p. 593-609Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Disagreement in ethics abounds. This has led some philosophers to argue that there is an irreducible plurality of moral values, duties, obligations, rights, etc., and that there is no universally valid way of balancing them. This kind of moral pluralism in combination with the absence of determinate rankings of values, duties, obligations, rights, etc., has been thought by some to imply that some cases of disagreement in ethics are rationally irresolvable, which in its turn, explains why disagreement in ethics abounds and remains pervasive.

  • 12. Moberger, Victor
    et al.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Moral Fictionalism: How and why?2023In: Moral Fictionalism and Religious Fictionalism / [ed] Richard Joyce; Stuart Brock, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023, p. 64-85Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The central challenges for moral fictionalism are twofold: first, to explain how its recommendation that we abandon moral belief and assertion can be reconciled with its rationale of preserving the motivational efficacy of moral thought and discourse; second, to explain what the point is of replacing moral belief and assertion to begin with. This chapter clarifies these challenges and argues that Richard Joyce’s recent “metaphorist” version of fictionalism fares no better with respect to them than his earlier “narrationist” version. Just like its narrationist predecessor, metaphorist fictionalism fails to secure the motivational efficacy of moral thought and talk. The authors also find faults with yet more recent attempts at answering the above challenges for moral fictionalism, leaving the conservationist recommendation a more attractive alternative. This conclusion could be overturned if the conservationist proposal were sufficiently problematic in other respects, but the authors argue that it isn’t.

  • 13.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Adam Smith av Bo Sandelin2011In: Tidskrift för politisk filosofi, ISSN 1402-2710, E-ISSN 2002-3383, Vol. 15, no 1, p. 51-57Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 14.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Anders Hansson, Tre slags etiska teorier? Aristoteles, Kant och Sidgwick om vad vi har skäl att göra2020In: Filosofisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0348-7482, no 1, p. 30-33Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 15.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Axel Hägerström and Modern Social Thought, red. Sven Eliaeson, Patricia Mindus och Stephen P. Turner2016In: Filosofisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0348-7482, no 1Article, book review (Other academic)
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  • 16.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Brentano's Metaethics2017In: The Routledge Handbook of Brentano and the Brentano School / [ed] Uriah Kriegel, New York: Routledge, 2017, p. 187-195Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter explains Franz Brentano's metaethical theory and how it purports to deal with such difficulties. Brentano explains correctness in emotions by analogy with correctness in judgements. For a judgement to be correct is for it to concord with a judgement made by someone who judges with self-evidence (Evidenz). Self-evident judgements are guaranteed to be correct, and they are based either on "inner perception" or on presentations of objects that are rejected apodictically. Brentano's metaethical theory concerns first and foremost the psychology of valuing and of moral judgement. Brentano is clearly a cognitivist about evaluative and moral judgement; such judgements are judgements about the correctness of feelings, and judgements are cognitive acts. However, one aspect of his position that seems congenial to contemporary expressivism. This has to do with expressivist treatments of disagreement. Brentano's views seem akin to the kind of foundationalist intuitionism that is traditionally associated with non-naturalism.

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  • 17.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Buck-Passing Accounts2013In: The International Encyclopedia of Ethics / [ed] Hugh LaFollette, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, p. 625-636Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is a common view that there is an intimate tie between evaluative properties like goodness, badness, and betterness and appropriate responses to bearers of such properties. For instance, if an object is good there are reasons to favor it, or as some say, a favorable response would be fitting. Similarly, many people take there to be a close tie between deontic properties like rightness and wrongness and appropriate responses: if an action is wrong, there are reasons to respond disfavorably, e.g., to blame agents for performing actions of that type. According to buck‐passing accounts (henceforth BPA), evaluative and deontic properties do not themselves provide reasons for responses. Rather, reasons to respond in various ways are provided by good‐, bad‐, better‐, right‐, and wrong‐making properties.

  • 18.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Doubts about Intrinsic Value2015In: The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory / [ed] Iwao Hirose, Jonas Olson, New York: Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 44-59Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 19.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Error theory and reasons for belief2011In: Reasons for belief / [ed] Andrew Reisner, Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 75-93Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 20.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Error Theory in Metaethics2017In: The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics / [ed] Tristram McPherson; David Plunkett, New York: Routledge, 2017, p. 58-71Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Error theories have been proposed and defended in several different areas of philosophy. In addition to ethics, there are error theories about numbers, color, free will, and personal identity. Moral error theories differ in scope. Theories at one end of the spectrum take normative judgments in general—of which moral judgments are a subclass—to be uniformly false, whereas theories at the other end of the spectrum take only a subclass of moral judgments—example those concerning duty and obligation, but not those concerning virtue and vice—to be uniformly false. Moral error theorists typically join forces with non-naturalist realists, against naturalism and non-cognitivism. Facts that are normative in the reason-implying sense are irreducibly normative, and they are very different. Many non-naturalist realists and error theorists maintain that it is impossible to give a plausible naturalistic account of moral facts, precisely because they are irreducibly normative; moral naturalism therefore falls prey to the "normativity objection".

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  • 21.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Filosofernas filosof hade en stark känsla för förnuftet2020In: Dagens nyheter, ISSN 1101-2447Article, book review (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 22.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Fitting Attitude Analyses of Value and the Partiality Challenge2009In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, ISSN 1386-2820, E-ISSN 1572-8447, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 365-378Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to ‘Fitting Attitude’ (FA) analyses of value, for an object to be valuable isfor that object to have properties—other than its being valuable—that make it a fitting object ofcertain responses. In short, if an object is positively valuable it is fitting to favour it; if anobject is negatively valuable it is fitting to disfavour it. There are several variants of FAanalyses. Some hold that for an object to be valuable is for it to be such that it ought to befavoured; others hold that value is analyzable in terms of reasons or requirements to favour.All these variants of the FA analysis are subject to a partiality challenge: there arecircumstances in which some agents have reasons to favour or disfavour some object—due tothe personal relations in which they stand to the object—without this having any bearing onthe value of the object. A. C. Ewing was one of the first philosophers to draw attention to thepartiality challenge for FA analyses. In this paper I explain the challenge and considerEwing's responses, one of which is preferable to the other, but none of which is entirelysatisfactory. I go on to develop an alternative Brentano-inspired response that Ewing couldhave offered and that may well be preferable to the responses Ewing actually did offer.

  • 23.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Förnuft och känsla: Rationalism, sentimentalism och Humes metaetik2011In: Förnuft, känsla och moral: Perspektiv på David Hume / [ed] Robert Callergård, Stockholm: Thales, 2011Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 24.
    Olson, Jonas
    Brasenose College, University of Oxford, UK.
    G. E. Moore on Goodness and Reasons2006In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0004-8402, E-ISSN 1471-6828, Vol. 84, no 4, p. 525-534Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Several proponents of the ‘buck-passing’ account of value have recently attributed to G. E. Moore the implausible view that goodness is reason-providing. I argue that this attribution is unjustified. In addition to its historical significance, the discussion has an important implication for the contemporary value-theoretical debate: the plausible observation that goodness is not reason-providing does not give decisive support to the buck-passing account over its Moorean rivals. The final section of the paper is a survey of what can be said for and against the buck-passing account and Moore's views about goodness and reasons.

  • 25.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Getting Real about Moral Fictionalism2011In: Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 6 / [ed] Russ Shafer-Landau, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 181-204Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 26.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Hume on Is and Ought, by Pigden Charles R. (ed.)2013In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0004-8402, E-ISSN 1471-6828, Vol. 91, no 4, p. 821-824Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 27.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Hume's Sentimentalism: Not Non-Cognitivism2021In: Belgrade Philosophical Annual, ISSN 0353-3891, Vol. 1, no 34, p. 95-111Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper considers and argues against old and recent readings of Hume according to which his account of moral judgement is non-cognitivist. In previous discussions of this topic, crucial metaethical distinctions—between sentimentalism and non-cognitivism and between psychological and semantic non-cognitivism—are often blurred. The paper aims to remedy this and argues that making the appropriate metaethical distinctions undermines alleged support for non-cognitivist interpretations of Hume. The paper focuses in particular on Hume’s so-called ‘motivation argument’ and argues that it is a poor basis for non-cognitivist interpretations. While there is textual support for attributing to Hume what may be called ‘modally weak’ motivational internalism, there is no solid textual support for attributing to him either psychological or semantic non-cognitivism. The paper also challenges briefly some further alleged support for non-cognitivist interpretations. It concludes by offering some positive evidence against such interpretations, namely that Hume appears to hold that there are moral beliefs and moral knowledge.

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  • 28.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Högern läser Adam Smith som fan läser bibeln2019In: Flamman, ISSN 1403-7424Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 29.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    In Defence Of Moral Error Theory2010In: New Waves in Metaethics / [ed] Michael Brady, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, p. 62-84Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 30.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    In Defence of Moral Error Theory2009Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 31.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Kriegel on Brentano on Value and FittingnessIn: European Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0966-8373, E-ISSN 1468-0378Article in journal (Refereed)
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  • 32.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Kriegel on Brentano on value and fittingness2023In: European Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0966-8373, E-ISSN 1468-0378, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 479-485Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Uriah Kriegel's Brentano's Philosophical System: Mind, Being, and Value is a good illustration of how fascinating a subject the history of philosophy can be. It contextualizes and scrutinizes Brentano's philosophy and explains the many ways in which it offers alternatives to currently dominant paradigms. Although the book is written in a spirit clearly sympathetic to Brentano's system, Kriegel is up front about its weakness and shortcomings. This is not to say, however, that his attempts to mend them are all satisfactory.

    My focus will be on the book's third part, which is about Brentano's theory of value. I shall consider three problems, the first two of which Kriegel also considers. The first is that Brentano's analysis of value in terms of fittingness gets the order of explanation backwards. In Section 3, I shall argue that Kriegel's conclusion that there is a good response available to Brentano can be bolstered if Kriegel's formulation of Brentano's “fitting attitude” account is revised. The second problem, to be discussed in Section 4, is that Brentano's account lacks the resources to accommodate betterness and worseness and degrees of value. In Section 5, finally, I consider briefly the “partiality problem” for the fitting attitude account of value, and how it applies to Brentano's version of it.

    First of all, I provide some necessary background concerning relevant parts of Brentano's philosophy, which I intend not to be in tension with Kriegel's interpretation.

  • 33.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Mark Schroeder. Explaining the Reasons We Share: Explanation and Expression in Ethics, Volume 12015In: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, E-ISSN 1538-1617Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 34.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Metaethics2013In: International Encyclopedia of Ethics / [ed] Hugh LaFollette, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, p. 3219-3235Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Moral philosophers often ask whether abortion is morally permissible, whether the suffering of nonhuman animals is on a par morally with human suffering, and whether an action is morally right if and only if it maximizes happiness. Political philosophers often ask whether persons have inviolable rights to their bodies and whether distributive inequality that benefits the worst off is morally acceptable. These are all examples of first-order moral questions. But such questions are not the business of moral and political philosophers only. First-order moral questions pervade everyday thinking and acting: Is it wrong to eat meat? Ought one to donate more to charities? Is there reason to vote in elections?

  • 35.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Metaethics Out of Speech Acts? Moral Error Theory and the Possibility of Speech2019In: Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics / [ed] Christopher Cowie, Richard Rowland, Routledge, 2019, p. 73-85Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Are there moral facts? According to moral nihilism, the answer is no. Some moral nihilists are moral error theorists, who think that moral judgements purport to refer to moral facts, but since there are no moral facts, moral judgements are uniformly false or untrue. Terence Cuneo has recently raised an original and potentially very serious objection to moral error theory (Cuneo 2014). According to Cuneo’s ‘normative theory of speech’, normative facts, some of which are moral facts, are crucially involved in explanations of how it is that we are able to perform illocutionary speech acts, such as asserting, promising, and commanding. Many versions of moral error theory reject not only moral facts, but also normative facts of the kind Cuneo takes to be among the prerequisites of our abilities to perform illocutionary speech acts. If Cuneo’s argument is successful, then, moral error theory has the unsettling implication that we do not speak, and possibly that we cannot speak. I shall argue, however, that the argument ultimately fails, chiefly because its core premise fails to establish that illocutionary speech acts are normative in the first place.

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  • 36.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Moral and Epistemic Error Theory: The Parity Premise Reconsidered2018In: Metaepistemology / [ed] Conor McHugh; Jonathan Way; Daniel Whiting, Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 107-121Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many moral error theorists hold that moral facts are irreducibly normative. They also hold that irreducible normativity is metaphysically queer and conclude that there are no irreducibly normative reasons and consequently no moral facts. A popular response to moral error theory utilizes the so-called ‘companions in guilt’ strategy and argues that if moral reasons are irreducibly normative, then epistemic reasons are too. This is the Parity Premise, on the basis of which critics of moral error theory draw the Parity Conclusion that if there are no irreducibly normative reasons, there are no moral reasons and no epistemic reasons. From the Parity Conclusion and Epistemic Realism (the view that there are epistemic reasons), it follows that it is false that there are no irreducibly normative reasons. In this paper, I argue that the Parity Premise and the Parity Conclusion can both plausibly be rejected.

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  • 37.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Moral error theory: history, critique, defence2014Book (Refereed)
  • 38.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Nihilism and the Epistemic Profile of Moral Judgment2019In: The Routledge Handbook of Moral Epistemology / [ed] Aaron Zimmerman, Karen Jones, Mark Timmons, New York: Routledge, 2019, p. 304-315Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Moral nihilism is the view that there are no moral facts or moral truths. It is the ontological component of moral error theory, which is the best-known and most comprehensive metaethical theory that involves moral nihilism. My main aim is to discuss some consequences of endorsing moral error theory or believing to some degree that moral error theory is true. In §2, I consider the implications for ordinary moral thought and discourse and the epistemological consequences for moral theorizing. In §3, I consider a recent challenge, according to which moral judgments do not have the epistemic profile that moral error theory alleges. I shall argue in §3–5 that the challenge can be met and that there is evidence that moral error theory is in fact correct about the epistemic profile of moral judgments.

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  • 39.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    On the Defensibility and Believability of Moral Error Theory: Reply to Evers, Streumer, and Toppinen2016In: Journal of Moral Philosophy, ISSN 1740-4681, E-ISSN 1745-5243, Vol. 13, no 4, p. 461-473Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article is a response to critical articles by Daan Evers, Bart Streumer, and Teemu Toppinen on my book Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). I will be concerned with four main topics. I shall first try to illuminate the claim that moral facts are queer, and its role in the argument for moral error theory. In section 2, I discuss the relative merits of moral error theory and moral contextualism. In section 3, I explain why I still find the queerness argument concerning supervenience an unpromising argument against non-naturalistic moral realism. In section 4, finally, I reconsider the question whether I, or anyone, can believe the error theory.

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  • 40.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Projectivism and Error in Hume's Ethics2011In: Hume after 300 Years: Conference Programme and Abstracts, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 41.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Projectivism and Error in Hume's Ethics2011In: Hume Studies, ISSN 0319-7336, E-ISSN 1947-9921, Vol. 37, no 1, p. 19-42Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This essay argues that while Hume believes both that morality is grounded in our ordinary moral practices, sentiments, and beliefs, and that moral properties are real, he also holds that ordinary moral thinking involves systematically erroneous beliefs about moral properties. These claims, on their face, seem difficult to square with one another but this paper argues that on Hume’s view, they are reconcilable. The reconciliation is effected by making a distinction between Hume’s descriptive metaethics, that is, his account of vulgar moral thought and discourse, and his revisionary metaethics, that is, his account of how vulgar moral thought and discourse could be reformed so as to no longer involve error. This essay concludes that Hume is a projectivist and an error theorist in descriptive metaethics, while he is a projectivist and a subjectivist in revisionary metaethics.

  • 42.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Précis of Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence2016In: Journal of Moral Philosophy, ISSN 1740-4681, E-ISSN 1745-5243, Vol. 13, no 4, p. 397-402Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Moral error theorists and moral realists agree about several disputed metaethical issues. They typically agree that ordinary moral judgments are beliefs and that ordinary moral utterances purport to refer to moral facts. But they disagree on the crucial ontological question of whether there are any moral facts. Moral error theorists hold that there are not and that, as a consequence, ordinary moral beliefs are systematically mistaken and ordinary moral judgments uniformly untrue. Perhaps because of its kinship with moral realism, moral error theory is often considered the most notorious of moral scepticisms. While the view has been widely discussed, it has had relatively few defenders. Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence (henceforth met) examines the view from a historical as well as a contemporary perspective, and purports to respond to some of its most prominent challenges. This precis is a brief summary of the book's content.

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  • 43.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Rationalism vs. Sentimentalism: Reviewing Price's Review2014In: Philosophical Papers, ISSN 0556-8641, E-ISSN 1996-8523, Vol. 43, no 3, p. 429-445Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper revisits Richard Price’s Review of the Principal Questions in Morals (1757/1787). Price was a defender of rationalism about ethics and he anticipated many views and arguments that became influential as the metaethical and ethical debates evolved over the later centuries. The paper explores and assesses Price’s arguments in favour of rationalism and against sentimentalism, with a view to how they bear on the modern metaethical debate.

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  • 44.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Reasons and the New Non-Naturalism2009In: Spheres of Reason / [ed] Simon Robertson, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 164-182Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This essay focuses on two recent trends in metaethics. One is the revival of non-naturalistic realism, or just non-naturalism for short. The other is the preoccupation with reasons. The two trends are not unconnected. The renewal of interest in non-naturalism seems to have gained fuel from the preoccupation with reasons. The essay distinguishes between old and new non-naturalism. Old non-naturalism places intrinsic goodness at the normative centre stage; new non-naturalism places the notion of a reason at the normative centre stage. There is a presentiment about, that new non-naturalism’s shift of focus from intrinsic goodness to reasons promises to make non-naturalism a more credible and viable metaethical position. This line of thinking involves a fallacy I propose to call the extensional fallacy. Unmasking the extensional fallacy reveals that the notion of a reason is no less problematic than the notion of intrinsic goodness, and that the supervenience of the normative on the natural is no less problematic for new non-naturalism than for old non-naturalism. Another currently popular view is this: On old non-naturalism goodness is reason-providing. But since it is intuitively incredible that goodness is reason-providing, old non-naturalism must be rejected in favour of new non-naturalism. The idea that goodness is not reason-providing is intuitively compelling and I argue that old non-naturalism is perfectly consistent with this idea; the contrary view is based on dubious readings of Moore.

  • 45.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Recension av Stefan Björklund, En anständig indvidualism: Adam Smith flankerad av Francis Hutcheson och David Hume2014In: Filosofisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0348-7482, Vol. 35, no 4, p. 54-57Article, book review (Other academic)
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  • 46.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Replik om Nozick och rättvisa2014Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [sv]

    I en kolumn på SvD:s ledarsida (21/9) åberopar Andreas Bergh ett känt exempel av filosofen Robert Nozick till försvar för tesen att fördelningar som är resultat av transaktioner som baseras på fria val inte är orättvisa. I Nozicks exempel betalar var och en som vill se basketlegenden Wilt Chamberlain spela en mindre summa pengar till Chamberlain. Eftersom många vill se honom spela blir han mycket rikare än de flesta andra. Detta är inte orättvist, menar Nozick, just eftersom fördelningen är ett resultat av fritt ingångna transaktioner. Bergh menar att historien om Minecraft-skaparen Markus Persson försäljning av spelföretaget Mohjang till Microsoft är en nutida motsvarighet till Nozicks exempel. Bergh ansluter sig till Nozicks libertarianska tes att fördelningar som är resultat av människors fria val inte är orättvisa och menar att detta perspektiv borde anläggas oftare i den svenska debatten.

    Men det libertarianska perspektivet är långt i från så intuitivt rimligt som Bergh låter påskina. Det är uppenbart att Chamberlain och Persson haft tur. De föddes båda med naturgivna talanger och hade turen att växte upp i sociala miljöer som tillät dem att utveckla talangerna så att de senare kunde slå mynt av dem. Att andra inte haft samma förutsättningar är inte rättvist. Enligt liberala rättviseteorier, t.ex. den som utarbetades av John Rawls, ska en rättvis fördelning kompensera de som inte haft tur i de naturliga och sociala lotterierna. Detta kräver att man beskattar lyckosamma personer som Chamberlain och Persson.

    Rättvisa fördelningar måste på detta sätt vara ”talang-okänsliga”. En komplikation i de liberala teorierna är att deras förespråkare också brukar kräva att rättvisa fördelningar är ”ambitions-känsliga”: de flitigas ansträngningar ska belönas, samtidigt som de som haft oturen att födas utan inkomstbringande talanger kompenseras. Hur denna avvägning ska göras är en svår fråga. Liberalen Rawls svar var att ojämlikheter bara är rättfärdigade om de leder till att de sämst ställda i samhället får det bättre än de annars skulle haft det. De radikala implikationerna av den tesen är något för svenska folkpartister och andra förmenta liberaler att begrunda.

  • 47.
    Olson, Jonas
    Brasenose College, University of Oxford, UK.
    Review of Ingmar Persson, The Retreat of Reason: A Dilemma in the Philosophy of Life2006In: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, E-ISSN 1538-1617Article, book review (Refereed)
  • 48.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Review of Richard Joyce, Essays in Moral Skepticism2018In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism, ISSN 2210-5697, E-ISSN 2210-5700, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 66-71Article, book review (Refereed)
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  • 49.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Skorupski's Middle Way in Metaethics2012In: Philosophy and phenomenological research, ISSN 0031-8205, E-ISSN 1933-1592, Vol. 85, no 1, p. 192-200Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 50.
    Olson, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Spinoza och Hume var fritänkande fränder2016Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
12 1 - 50 of 68
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