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Ethics And Values, Varieties Of Subjectivism, Conclusion, BibliographyObjectivity

Subjectivism's natural antonym is objectivism, and various species of subjectivism have been developed as alternatives to objectivism of various sorts. One can be a subjectivist about a variety of things—ethics, aesthetics, even science. Many of these topics are covered in related entries, however, and the emphasis here will be on subjectivism with respect to ethics in modern and contemporary thought.

Philosophers often distinguish normative ethics, which deals with specific questions about rights or duties or ideals (e.g., "is infanticide wrong?") and metaethics, which deals with questions about the status of ordinary moral claims (such as, "can moral judgments be true or false?"). Subjectivism and objectivism are positions in metaethics.


According to the metaphors often used to characterize objectivism, the world (or some subdomain of it, like ethics) is "out there," beyond our language and thought. If we are fortunate, we may discover something about this mind-independent realm, but in no sense do we create or construct it. Thus, to objectivists, there is a fact about whether abortion is ever acceptable that obtains quite independently of anyone's opinions on the matter.

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