The Social Function of Morality

Müller, Andreas (2020). The Social Function of Morality. In: Hufendiek, Rebekka; James, Daniel; van Riel, Raphael (eds.) Social Functions in Philosophy: Metaphysical, Normative, and Methodological Perspectives. Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy (pp. 135-158). New York: Routledge 10.4324/9780429435393

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This chapter discusses various attempts at deriving metaethical conclusions from claims about the function of morality. In doing so, it will, for the most part, grant the truth of such function claims and focus on what metaethical theses they do and do not support. After briefly surveying various recent proposals that rely on functions claims in an attempt to debunk the possibility of robust moral truth and knowledge, the chapter focusses on the contrary, vindicatory project. The proponents of this project argue that a proper understanding of morality’s function not only supports the idea that there are moral truths that we can gain knowledge of, but also provides us with a better understanding of the grounds of those truths, an understanding, moreover, that reconciles the existence of such truths with a naturalistic worldview. A critical assessment of their proposals reveals that while a promising vindicatory role for a function claim can be found in elaborating a non-representationalist conception of the truth of moral judgments, grounding moral truth in morality’s function in that way allows for naturalizing ethics in a modest sense at the most.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Practical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Müller, Andreas (A)


100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 170 Ethics




Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy






Andreas Müller

Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2020 12:43

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:37

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Projekt: DFG-Netzwerk "Soziale Funktionen"; Funders: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


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