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1) In a paper Annas argued that modern moral skepticism is essentially local. Then Bett wrote another paper in which he challenged this interpretation; he entitled it “Is Modern Moral Skepticism Essentially Local?” Finally, I wrote a paper against Bett. This is why I first entitled it “Is Modern Moral Skepticism Not Essentially Local?” But I was told by a referee that this title is not clear, and that I should use “Is Modern Moral Skepticism not Essentially Local?” You can see that he didn’t realize that this is the title of Bett’s paper. Finally, I thought I could use this title: “Yes, Modern Moral Skepticism is Essentially Local”. It seems to me that, even if a person that sees this title for the first time and doesn’t know about the debate in question, he would understand that the paper is a response to a previous discussion. Don’t you think?

2) The following is the abstract of the paper, and I’d like to know if you (who don’t the subject) think it’s clear enough.

"Abstract: Julia Annas has affirmed that the kind of modern moral skepticism which denies the existence of objective moral values rests upon a contrast between morality and some other view of the world that is considered immune to skepticism. Richard Bett, on the other hand, has maintained that the existence of such a contrast is not a necessary condition for rejecting moral realism. My purpose in this paper is to attempt to show that Bett fails to make a good case against Annas' thesis [or interpretation?]. To accomplish this, it will be helpful to consider the Pyrrhonean attitude towards morality as expounded in Sextus Empiricus’ work.”

3) The following long paragraph is the introduction of the paper. I have doubts especially about the clarity and grammar of the sentences in bold.
“One of the most common forms of modern moral skepticism denies that moral values or moral facts are part of the objective world. The leading proponent of this view is John Leslie Mackie, who in his influential book Ethics defines his moral skepticism as the “negative doctrine [which] says that there do not exist entities or relations of a certain kind, objective values or requirements, which many people have believed to exist” (1977, 17). This kind of skeptical position is usually designated ‘ontological moral skepticism’, in opposition to epistemological versions of moral skepticism, such as the view which denies that moral knowledge is possible, or that which denies that moral beliefs are justified. In the 1980s a discussion took place between Julia Annas and Richard Bett over whether ontological moral skepticism depends on a contrast between morality and some other system of beliefs that is itself considered invulnerable to skepticism. The discussion was couched in terms of whether ontological moral skepticism is ‘local’, since, if this skepticism rests upon such a contrast, then it is not a part of a global skepticism that calls into question all beliefs about all subjects. Annas claimed that ontological moral skepticism is by nature local, which gave rise to Bett’s objection. 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 it will allow us to identify more clearly the theoretical underpinnings of the view that morality is not objective – a view that is quite common nowadays. The aim of the present paper is therefore to continue the discussion between Annas and Bett about the local character of ontological moral skepticism. Since it is Annas’ and Bett’s use, I will employ the label ‘modern moral skepticism’ to refer specifically to ontological moral skepticism.”

Cheers
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Hi again,

In a paper Annas argued that modern moral skepticism is essentially local. Then Bett wrote another paper in which he challenged this interpretation; he entitled it “Is Modern Moral Skepticism Essentially Local?” Finally, I wrote a paper against Bett. This is why I first entitled it “Is Modern Moral Skepticism Not Essentially Local?” However, I was told by a referee that this title is not clear, and that I should use “Is Modern Moral Skepticism not Essentially Local?” You can see that he didn’t realize that this is the title of Bett’s paper. Finally, I thought I could use this title: “Yes, Modern Moral Skepticism is Essentially Local”. It seems to me that, even if a person no that sees this title for the first time and doesn’t know about the debate in question, he would understand that the paper is a response to a previous discussion. Don’t you think so?

2) The following is the abstract of the paper, and I’d like to know if you (who don’t the subject) think it’s clear enough.


"Abstract: Julia Annas has affirmed that the kind of modern moral skepticism which denies the existence of objective moral values rests upon a contrast between morality and some other view of the world that is considered immune to skepticism. Richard Bett, on the other hand, has maintained that the existence of such a contrast is not a necessary condition for rejecting moral realism. My purpose in this paper is to attempt to show that Bett fails to make a good case against Annas' thesis [or interpretation?]. 'Thesis' suggest more originality than 'interpretation To accomplish this, it will be helpful to consider the Pyrrhonean attitude towards morality as expounded in Sextus Empiricus’ work.”

3) The following long paragraph is the introduction of the paper. I have doubts especially about the clarity and grammar of the sentences in bold. Well, it's pretty dense prose, but they seem well-written to me
“One of the most common forms of modern moral skepticism denies that moral values or moral facts are part of the objective world. The leading proponent of this view is John Leslie Mackie, who in his influential book Ethics defines his moral skepticism as the “negative doctrine [which] says that there do not exist entities or relations of a certain kind, objective values or requirements, which many people have believed to exist” (1977, 17). This kind of skeptical position is usually designated ‘ontological moral skepticism’, in opposition to epistemological versions of moral skepticism, such as the view which denies that moral knowledge is possible, or that which denies that moral beliefs are justified. In the 1980s comma a discussion took place between Julia Annas and Richard Bett over whether ontological moral skepticism depends on a contrast between morality and some other system of beliefs that is itself considered invulnerable to skepticism. The discussion was couched in terms of whether ontological moral skepticism is ‘local’ possibly no comma? since, if this skepticism rests upon such a contrast, then it is not a part of a global skepticism that calls into question all beliefs about all subjects. Annas claimed that ontological moral skepticism is by nature local, which gave rise to Bett’s objection. 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 it will allow us to identify more clearly the theoretical underpinnings of the view that morality is not objective – a view that is quite common nowadays. The aim of the present paper is therefore to continue the discussion between Annas and Bett about the local character of ontological moral skepticism. Since it is Annas’ and Bett’s use or possibly 'usage' or 'term', I will employ the label ‘modern moral skepticism’ to refer specifically to ontological moral skepticism.”




Clive
Thanks a lot, Clive.

One note: in 1) I wasn't clear enough, because what I was asking is whether the new title "Yes, Modern ...." sounds ok and is understandable.

Cheers
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Hi,

Yes, it seems clear in a context where readers are familiar with what has gone before.

Clive
The topic of your essay is an interesting coicidence. I'm in a philosophy study group that's currently reading Simon Blackburn's "Truth" and the author makes several references to John Mackie, of whom none of us were previously aware. Out of curiosity, what university are you attending? I'm assuming you're writing this paper for an ethics class.
Thethenothere123The topic of your essay is an interesting coicidence. I'm in a philosophy study group that's currently reading Simon Blackburn's "Truth" and the author makes several references to John Mackie, of whom none of us were previously aware. Out of curiosity, what university are you attending? I'm assuming you're writing this paper for an ethics class.
I'm doing my PhD in philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires. And this is a paper that was accepted for publication in a philosophy journal, but I must do a couple of stylistic changes. You know, English is not my first language...
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CliveHi,

Yes, it seems clear in a context where readers are familiar with what has gone before.

Clive

So, Clive, isn't it clear for you?
Hi,

Yes, since you have expalined th context to me, about the earlier papers. But a reader who didn't know about that might possibly be slightly unsure about a title that starts with 'Yes'.

Clive
I see. Well, what do you think about these options:

(On) The Local Nature/Character of Modern Moral Skepticism?
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