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Here are my last questions about the final version of the paper, which I hope I'll be able to send in a few days:

1) "In the late 80s a discussion took place between Julia Annas and Richard Bett over whether ontological moral skepticism is ‘local’ – that is to say, whether it does not call into question all beliefs, but arises from a contrast between morality and some other system of beliefs that cannot be undermined by skepticism. Annas claimed that this moral skepticism is by nature local, which gave rise to Bett’s objection."

2) "The aim of the present paper is therefore to continue the discussion between Annas and Bett about the local character of ontological moral skepticism. For this reason, its title derives from that of an article by Bett, which in turn has its origin in Annas’ claim that this moral skepticism “is essentially local”."

Is it clear that in both paragraphs "this" refers back to "ontological moral skepticism", or should I rather use "that"? In this latter case, I would then have "that that...".

3a) "One might object that the unresolved disagreements that exist among the defenders of moral realism show that moral values are not real. However, the fact that a disagreement is unresolved does not imply that none of the conflicting views is correct. Not even the existence of an unresolvable disagreement among moral realists is sufficient to deny that moral values are objective, since it only manifests the impossibility of determining which of the positions in conflict, if any, is correct. Hence, one needs more than an undecided or undecidable conflict of moral realistic positions to deny the objectivity of morality; what one needs is a conception of the world which one takes to be objective, and with which moral realism is at odds."

I've decided to use "among" instead of "between", not only because there are more than two moral realists, but also because when I read "between the defenders of moral realism" I've got the impression that it will say "between the defenders of moral realism and their opponents (or sth like this)". On the contrary, when using "among", I've got the impression that it is a disagreement or a conflict whithin the group of the moral realists. This is why in the following paragraph I first use "among" and then "between" (perhaps wrongly):

3b) "More precisely, the Pyrrhonist finds a) an undecidable disagreement among moral doctrines which have differing views about what the good, the bad, and the indifferent are, or about what things these notions apply to; and b) an undecidable disagreement between the doctrines which assert that things are good, bad, or indifferent by nature, and those that deny this."

4) "Julia Annas has affirmed that the kind of modern moral skepticism which denies the existence of objective moral values is essentially ‘local’; this means that it is based upon a world-view that is itself immune to skepticism. Richard Bett, on the contrary, has maintained that being non-skeptical about some view of the world is not an indispensable condition for rejecting moral realism."

This the abstract of the paper. Is it ok to use the present perfect, or should I rather employ the simple past?

5) "Several authors have adopted Mackie’s kind of moral skepticism. Among them are Snare 1984, Black 1989–1990, and Garner 1990, though the latter prefers to designate his position ‘anti-moral realism’."

6) "Unfortunately, there has been no subsequent analysis of the cogency of Bett’s argument against Annas’ position, and hence no further examination of whether or not the latter’s thesis is correct. I believe that such an analysis is still relevant, because ..."

7) "For from the fact that, to be skeptical about morality, one need not be non-skeptical about every other area, Bett invalidly infers that, to be skeptical about morality, one need not be non-skeptical about any other area. That is to say, to deny the objectivity of morality, it is not necessary to have confidence in the objectivity of science and common sense and any other way of looking at the world; but it does not follow from this that, to deny the objectivity of morality, one need not be certain about the objectivity of at least some other way of looking at the world."

Again with this complicated text. The problem I see is that what I first call "area", I afterwards call "way of looking at the world".

8) "To sum up: one can deny the existence of objective moral values without having to be skeptical only about morality or non-skeptical about science; but this denial necessarily presupposes confidence in the objectivity of some view of reality with which moral realism is at odds. Hence, Annas is right when she maintains that modern moral skepticism is essentially local."

9) "According to the first, “moral values are not real because there is so much dispute about them and no clear way of resolving it”. Hence, in moral inquiry there does not seem to be progress or accumulation of knowledge, in contrast with what happens in other domains of inquiry. A points out that the empirical sciences are in this case the preferred model, since..."

10) "Annas’ view is, then, that modern moral skepticism is local because it is based upon a contrast between morality and some other view of the world whose objectivity is not called into question."

11) "Thus, though Annas contends that confidence in the objectivity of science is a possible basis for denying the existence of objective moral values, she does not believe that it is the only possibility."

12) "Bett opposes the view that moral skepticism’s being local is a sine qua non for holding that there are no objective moral values."

As my use of sine qua non has provoked some discussion, I've thought of the following option:

"Bett opposes the view that, to deny the existence of objective moral values, it is necessary that modern moral skepticism be local."

Many thanks,

Sextus
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Hi,

1) "In the late 80s a discussion took place between Julia Annas and Richard Bett over whether ontological moral skepticism is ‘local’ – that is to say, whether it does not call into question all beliefs, but arises from a contrast between morality and some other system of beliefs that cannot be undermined by skepticism. Annas claimed that this moral skepticism is by nature local, which gave rise to Bett’s objection." I don't feel it's totally clear here. perhaps you could add the word 'ontological' after 'this', in other words repeat the whole phrase. I would.

2) "The aim of the present paper is therefore to continue the discussion between Annas and Bett about the local character of ontological moral skepticism. For this reason, its title derives from that of an article by Bett, which in turn has its origin in Annas’ claim that this moral skepticism “is essentially local”." Seems OK here.

Is it clear that in both paragraphs "this" refers back to "ontological moral skepticism", or should I rather use "that"? In this latter case, I would then have "that that...".

3a) "One might object that the unresolved disagreements that exist among the defenders of moral realism show that moral values are not real. However, the fact that a disagreement is unresolved does not imply that none of the conflicting views is correct. Not even the existence of an unresolvable disagreement among moral realists is sufficient to deny that moral values are objective, since it only manifests the impossibility of determining which of the positions in conflict, if any, is correct. Hence, one needs more than an undecided or undecidable conflict of moral realistic positions to deny the objectivity of morality; what one needs is a conception of the world which one takes to be objective, and with which moral realism is at odds."

I've decided to use "among" instead of "between", not only because there are more than two moral realists, but also because when I read "between the defenders of moral realism" I've got the impression that it will say "between the defenders of moral realism and their opponents (or sth like this)". On the contrary, when using "among", I've got the impression that it is a disagreement or a conflict whithin the group of the moral realists. I agree.

This is why in the following paragraph I first use "among" and then "between" (perhaps wrongly): Your chces seem fine to me. I don't think your use of 'between' is wrong.

3b) "More precisely, the Pyrrhonist finds a) an undecidable disagreement among moral doctrines which have differing views about what the good, the bad, and the indifferent are, or about what things these notions apply to; and b) an undecidable disagreement between the doctrines which assert that things are good, bad, or indifferent by nature, and those that deny this."

4) "Julia Annas has affirmed that the kind of modern moral skepticism which denies the existence of objective moral values is essentially ‘local’; this means that it is based upon a world-view that is itself immune to skepticism. Richard Bett, on the contrary, has maintained that being non-skeptical about some view of the world is not an indispensable condition for rejecting moral realism."

This the abstract of the paper. Is it ok to use the present perfect, or should I rather employ the simple past? PP seems OK to me. I don't recommend simple past. It tends to suggest that they may hold a different view today.

You could also use simple present when talking of beliefs and positoions in this way. For example, you could 'Aristotle maintains that ....' even though he is long dead.

5) "Several authors have adopted Mackie’s kind of moral skepticism. Among them are Snare 1984, Black 1989–1990, and Garner 1990, though the latter prefers to designate his position ‘anti-moral realism’." I'd omit the comma before 'and'.

6) "Unfortunately, there has been no subsequent analysis of the cogency of Bett’s argument against Annas’ position, and hence no further examination of whether or not the latter’s thesis is correct. I believe that such an analysis is still relevant, because ..." Sounds OK

7) "For from the fact that, to be skeptical about morality, one need not be non-skeptical about every other area, Bett invalidly infers that, to be skeptical about morality, one need not be non-skeptical about any other area. That is to say, to deny the objectivity of morality, it is not necessary to have confidence in the objectivity of science and common sense and any other way of looking at the world; but it does not follow from this that, to deny the objectivity of morality, one need not be certain about the objectivity of at least some other way of looking at the world."

Again with this complicated text. The problem I see is that what I first call "area", I afterwards call "way of looking at the world". Yes, I see what you mean. It seems acceptable to me, but then I'm not a philosopher reading this and, presumably, weighing all the subtleties.

8) "To sum up: one can deny the existence of objective moral values without having to be skeptical only about morality or non-skeptical about science; but this denial necessarily presupposes confidence in the objectivity of some view of reality with which moral realism is at odds. Hence, Annas is right when she maintains that modern moral skepticism is essentially local." OK

9) "According to the first ((not sure first what?), “moral values are not real because there is so much dispute about them and no clear way of resolving it”. Hence, in moral inquiry there does not seem to be progress or accumulation of knowledge, in contrast with what happens in other domains of inquiry. Annas points out that the empirical sciences are in this case the preferred model, since..."

10) "Annas’ view is, then, that modern moral skepticism is local because it is based upon a contrast between morality and some other view of the world whose objectivity is not called into question." OK

11) "Thus, though Annas contends that confidence in the objectivity of science is a possible basis for denying the existence of objective moral values, she does not believe that it is the only possibility." OK

12) "Bett opposes the view that moral skepticism’s being local is a sine qua non for holding that there are no objective moral values."

As my use of sine qua non has provoked some discussion, I've thought of the following option:

"Bett opposes the view that, to deny the existence of objective moral values, it is necessary that modern moral skepticism be local." Sounds good to me

I hope these brief comments are of help to you. However, I think you are doing very well on your own!

Clive
Hello Clive, many thanks for your useful comments.

At one point you say:

5) "Several authors have adopted Mackie’s kind of moral skepticism. Among them are Snare 1984, Black 1989–1990, and Garner 1990, though the latter prefers to designate his position ‘anti-moral realism’." I'd omit the comma before 'and'.

Yeah, this is kind of a problem, because the paper will appear in a Yankee journal, and I reckon that in American English one uses a comma before the last "and" when one mentions more than two items. And I think that in BrE one doesn't. But you're from Canada: don't you follow the Yankee use?

Also, I see that "latter" can well be used to refer to the last of several things or persons mentioned, and not only to the second of two.

Sextus
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Hi,

But you're from Canada: don't you follow the Yankee use? If you want to upset Canadians, tell us we are like Americans!!! Ha-ha. We constantly worry about threats to our independence, in cultural and other spheres.

Also, I see that "latter" can well be used to refer to the last of several things or persons mentioned, and not only to the second of two. Yes.

Clive
I didn't say you're like Yankees (I don't like to use "American" or "America" in these cases, otherwise I'll be what?). Anyway, I think it's much worse if you tell a Québécois that he's a Canadian.

So, do you agree that I should use the comma before "and" if I'm using AE?

Sextus
I've changed a little bit number 11:

11) "This appearance is misleading, since in closing his discussion of the local character of modern moral skepticism, she points out that this skepticism "is essentially local, a part of a globally unsceptical worl-view which is likely to be scientifically based". Thus, though Annas contends that confidence in the objectivity of science is the probable basis for denying the existence of objective moral values, she does not believe that it is the only possible basis."

Best,

Sextus
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Hello Sextus

Should "his" be "her" here:

11) "This appearance is misleading, since in closing his discussion of the local character of modern moral skepticism, she points out that this ..."

MrP
Yes, that's correct. I've made a mistake while copying the text. But do you find that the text is correct?

Sextus
Looks fine to me!

MrP
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