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  Richard Joyce's research


My principal area of research is metaethics. Metaethics is the branch of moral philosophy concerned with such questions as the meaning of moral terms, the nature of moral language, the ontology of moral properties, and the epistemological status of moral judgments. (A metaethicist won't provide advice on how you ought to act, but might tell you six different ways that the word “ought” is used.)

I am also interested in moral psychology, practical rationality, the nature of the emotions, the evolution of cooperation, and many other topics too numerous to mention. I have been labeled a moral nihilist, a moral fictionalist, a moral projectivist, a moral cognitivist, and a moral nativist. It's a fair cop.

I greatly dislike the widespread assumption that the aim of philosophy should be the vindication of everyday beliefs. I much prefer the methodology advocated by Edward Gorey:

"My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that's what the world is like."

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