How facts make law and nature of moral facts

Mark Greenberg


This paper is a reply to Ken Himma’s article on How Facts Make Law. In his thoughtful and thought-provoking paper, Himma claims that the argument of HFML must go wrong somewhere because, if successful, the argument shows too much with too little. In particular, he claims that my argument, with very limited resources, reaches a conclusion that entails that subjectivist and non-cognitivist theories of morality are false. Himma insists that I should not be able to resolve such controversial debates in meta-ethics with no meta-ethical or even normative resources. My basic response has two parts. First, it is not correct that my conclusion entails that subjectivist and non-cognitivist theories of morality are false. My conclusion itself is neutral as to the metaphysics of morality. Second, it is not even true that my argument, if successful, shows that there must be moral facts. The reason is that I rely on the plausibility of the existence of moral facts (whatever their metaphysics) in arguing for my conclusion. In sum, my argument’s conclusion doesn’t get us nearly as far as Himma thinks. Nor are my argument’s resources as meager as he claims.


content of the law, legal content, moral realism, moral cognitivism, anti-positivism, natural law, legal positivism, law and morality, metaethics, moral facts, normativity, Dworkin, Greenberg, Hart, Himma, determinants of legal content, criteria of legali

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DOI: 10.17808/des.40.170


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Direitos autorais 2015 Revista Direito, Estado e Sociedade

ISSN: 1516-6104