Quine’s idea that there is no such a thing as a sentence that is true solely in virtue of the meaning of the terms affects consistently Mavrode’s argument. In fact, Mavrode’s stands on the ground that moral obligations are real in the actual world. If Quine’s idea is correct than the entire argument of Mavrode may be under a question because it challenges the close correlation between real moral obligations and the actual. In stark contrast, on extrapolating Quine’s idea on Mavrode’s argument it is possible to estimate that moral obligations may be relevant regardless of the actual world but in terms of the essence of the moral obligations themselves. In fact, this means that Mavrode’s argument is challenged because Quite’s idea admits the possibility of existence of certain rules and norms which are irrelevant to the actual world but still they impose certain moral obligations on individuals.
In this respect, Mavrode stands on quite a different ground because he believes that real moral obligations cannot exist in the world if the fulfillment results in the net loss of the agent. Such moral obligations are irrelevant and absurd, according to Mavrode. However, if Quite’s idea is correct, Mavrode should reconsider his argument because he should admit that there are certain terms on which moral obligations can exist in the world and be fulfilled even though they have no material agent existing in the real world after the fulfillment of the moral obligations.
Obviously, Mavrode’s argument will need consistent changes if Quine’s idea is correct because it undermines the fundamental principle or correlation between real moral obligations and their existence in the actual world, while Quine’s idea makes this correlation unnecessary.
Mavrodes, George. “Religion and the Queerness of Morality,” in Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment: New Essays in the Philosophy of Religion, R. Audi & W. Wainwright (eds.), Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986, pp. 213–26
Moser, Paul. Empirical Justification, Boston: D. Reidel, 1985.
Wainwright, William. Reason and the Heart, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.