Modern Moral Philosophy and its Problems




In this brief paper we undertake a reflection on the apparent failure of modern moral philosophical theories to provide any adequate guidance in moral decision-making. Anscombe, for example, contends that moral philosophy will never advance until there is an adequate moral psychology. MacIntyre laments that moral philosophers have not been clear about what their central questions are. This leads us to consider whether we need normative moral theories at all, leading to a discussion of the viability of intuitionism as a guide to moral actions, and if one of the central moral questions is about the nature of the good, whether it is as unanalysable as G.E. Moore proposed. We conclude that its unanalysability opens the door for a theological answer to the nature of the good. Finally, concluding that the nature of the good is not the expression of human passions, but is external to human beings, we provide a short classification of moral theories according to whether they are realist or anti-realist, cognitivist or non-cognitivist.


Keywords: good, moral realism, cognitivism, meta-ethics.