Dev James has a meta-ethical query:
I would like a post discussing the tension between your anti-realist views in meta-ethics (or your quasi-realist views) and your ethical claims that are said as if there are right and wrong answers to ethical questions.
I don’t think there’s any tension here. Only misguided realists think there’s a tension. And I’d say that regular participation in normative controversies helps indicate how beside the point realist efforts to motivate their favorite questions are. I have a Wittgensteinian take on this.
Suppose I say, “DC’s barber licensing rules are bad.” You ask, what do you mean by that? Well, they reduce competition in the barbering field, leading to higher prices and worse service for customers. They reduce tax revenues and employment opportunities. They’re, you know, bad. No, no, no you say, what do you mean “the rules are bad?” Maybe you mean to ask if I think licensing is bad in principle, or it’s just that the implementation is bad. So I explain that if you assume an omniscient and benevolent regulator, you can posit a more optimal outcome than what the market provides, but in the real world this kind of commission is bound to become a playground for special interest capture.
Godamnit, I want you to tell me what it means for a law to be a bad law.
It’s bad. I disagree with it. I think its consequences don’t serve the public interest. I think it ought to be repealed. Its continuation causes avoidable suffering. Well which is it, huh? Huh? See? No! I refuse to accept your contention that the law should be repealed until you give an account of what “should” means.
At this juncture, I think, you’re just being an jerk and there’s nothing more to say. But in reality, this never happens! Just show the fly out of the bottle.