Ethics, Wittgenstein and the Frankfurt School, and Cavell

Richard Marshall interviews Alice Crary at 3:16:

3:16: You tend to represent moral realism as a push-back position against an ethically indifferent metaphysics. Wouldn’t it be easier to just say that no metaphysics has anything important to say about ethics and go from there?

AC: I need to rephrase this question slightly in order to answer it. “Moral realism” is a label that I deliberately don’t use in describing my image of ethics. Not that, abstractly considered, the term is obviously ill-suited to capture things I believe. It is, for instance, a conviction of mine that that there are morally salient aspects of the world that as such lend themselves to empirical discovery. A case could easily be made for speaking of moral realism in this connection. But that would likely generate confusion. When I claim that, say, humans and animals have moral qualities that are as such observable, I work with an understanding of what the world is like, and of what is involved in knowing it, that is foreign to familiar discussions of moral realism. These discussions are often structured by the assumption that objectivity excludes anything that is only adequately conceivable in terms of reference to human subjectivity. Moral realism is frequently envisioned as an improbable position on which moral values are objective in this subjectivity-extruding sense while still somehow having a direct bearing on action and choice. Thus does the specter of Mackie’s “argument from queerness” still haunt the halls of moral philosophy.

More here.