Peter Railton

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Peter Railton
Born 23 May 1950
Era 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic
Main interests

Ethics, Philosophy of Science

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notable_ideas = Ethical Naturalism

Peter Albert Railton (born 23 May 1950) is Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor, and John Stephenson Perrin Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

He received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1980. His research interests center on contemporary metaethics and normative ethics, especially consequentialism. He is the author of the book Facts, Norms, and Values and a co-editor (with Stephen Darwall and Allan Gibbard) of Moral Discourse and Practice. He has also written several seminal papers on scientific explanation.

He has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University, and is a distinguished professor at the University of Michigan.


Moral Realism[edit]

Railton has playfully described himself as a "stark, raving moral realist".[1] However, unlike some moral realists, he thinks moral facts that make moral statements true are natural facts.

Selected publications[edit]

  • 1984, "Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality," Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 134–171.
  • 1986, "Moral Realism," The Philosophical Review, Vol. 95, No. 2, pp. 163–207.
  • 1991, "Moral Theory As A Moral Practice," Noûs, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 185–190.
  • 1992, "Some Questions About the Justification of Morality," Philosophical Perspectives, Vol. 6, pp. 27–53.
  • 1992, "Pluralism, Determinacy, and Dilemma," Ethics, Vol. 102, No. 4, pp. 720–742.
  • 1993, "Noncognitivism about Rationality: Benefits, Costs, and an Alternative," Philosophical Issues, Vol. 4, pp. 36–51.
  • 1994, "Truth, Reason, and the Regulation of Belief," Philosophical Issues, Vol. 5, pp. 71–93.
  • 1996, "Moral Realism: Prospects and Problems," in Sinnott-Armstrong and Timmons (eds.), Moral Knowledge?, Oxford University Press.
  • 1996, Moral Discourse and Practice (co-edited with Stephen Darwall and Allan Gibbard), Oxford University Press.
  • 2003, Facts, Values, and Norms, Cambridge University Press.


  1. ^ "Moral Realism", The Philosophical Review, Vol. 95, No. 2 (Apr., 1986), p. 165


External links[edit]