Bob: “Unless we decide otherwise because of intractable differences in our moral frame of reference, as if one of us were a trombone maximier. In this case, we were wrong about each other, convinced that we mean the same thing rightly when we talk about doing the right thing. We would agree that we have a disagreement, but we would both be wrong. Bob: “So I think we need to have a moral disagreement: since we both see ourselves as a common moral framework of reference on this issue, and yet our moral intuitions tell us other things.” Error theorists also find no particular comfort in the minimalism about truth and fact. Finally, in order to defend their opinion, theorists of error must advance the reasons for believing that the moral assertions are true, but that none of them are true. This requires resisting the minimalist urge to make the truth so cheap that any kind of claim can have it. This is not to say that a theorist of error cannot be minimalist in terms of truth and fact. But that is to say that minimalism does not make their position easier (and this might even make their position more difficult) to maintain. However, impressed by the plausibility of naturalism, many moral realists have attempted, in one way or another, to show that the moral facts to which they feel obliged are either natural facts themselves or at least appropriately consistent with such facts (Boyd 1988, Brink 1989, Railton 1986). If they are right, naturalism does not pose a particular threat to moral realism.
On both sides, the distinctiveness of moral differences is also explained by the assumption that moral realism is false, either because cognitivism is false or because a theory of error is true. You cannot rely on your moral intuition, nor on the cultural norms of your time, nor on academic authority, nor on your inner reasoning or your ability to know the strength of your argument. Now back to the disagreement between Sally and Bob. Differences of opinion are pervasive and moral differences in health are frequent. The development of a moral imagination and the will to retain judgment and imagine the difficult situation of another could be a solution to moral disagreements. Moral disagreements, as with other decisions, require appropriate judgment. Proper judgment requires as much information as possible, which is accurately interpreted. Listening and trying to collect data from the primary source, as historians do, is important. The main source or patient, who is a “good historian,” is our most fundamental asset. Many differences of opinion can be resolved with appropriate and accurate data.
The moral relativism I present makes sense for this situation, concluding that moral truths are objective, but not universal, but only local. If Anjali and I ask for other moral convictions to life, it shows that we live in different moral worlds where different moral truths apply. The assertion that Nigel has a moral obligation to keep his promise, as the assertion that Nyx is a black cat asserts, purports to point out a fact, and is true if things are as the assertion asserts. Moral realists are those who think that things should be taken at face value in this regard – moral assertions claim to report facts, and are true if they get the facts correctly. Moreover, at least some moral assertions are indeed true. This is the common and more or less determining reason for moral realism (although some reports of moral realism indicate that these are additional obligations, such as the independence of moral facts from human thought and practice, or that these facts are objective in some way).