Indispensability Arguments in Metaethics: Even Better than in Mathematics?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Taking Morality Seriously (OUP 2011), Enoch puts forward an indispensability argument for irreducibly normative truths, modelled after indispensability arguments in the philosophy of mathematics. In contributions to this volume, Alan Baker and Mary Leng critically evaluate this indispensability argument for normative realism, partly by including more precise and up-to-date details about indispensability arguments for mathematical Platonism. This chapter responds to these criticisms. It is emphasized that Quinean holism need not be a premise for the indispensability argument; that there are several candidate metaethical analogues of ‘easy-road’ nominalism about mathematical objects; and that in some respects Enoch’s version of the indispensability argument is on safer grounds compared to the more common ones in the philosophy of mathematics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExplanation in Ethics and Mathematics
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780198778592
StatePublished - 2016


  • deliberation
  • holism
  • indispensibility
  • normativity
  • mathematical objects
  • Platonism


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