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In Defense of Moral Realism: Reply to Gabennesch

Richard A. Shweder
Child Development
Vol. 61, No. 6 (Dec., 1990), pp. 2060-2067
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130859
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130859
Page Count: 8
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In Defense of Moral Realism: Reply to Gabennesch
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Abstract

Moral realism is pervasive in everyday life, and the more of it the better. The moral realism of everyday life is not childlike egocentric realism, in Piaget's sense, nor is it, as Gabennesch argues, an avoidable or deplorable form of opacity, reification, or ethnocentrism. The social order is part of the moral order, yet natural moral law extends beyond issues of harm, rights, and justice. Turiel is a cognitivist who restricts his conception of natural moral law to harm, rights, and justice. Gabennesch is an emotivist or conventionalist who has no concept of natural moral law at all. I share with Turiel his cognitivism but not his restricted conception of natural law. I share with Gabennesch his reading of the evidence for a pervasive moral realism of everyday life, but not his conventionalist interpretation of it.

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