Melis Erdur

Melis received her Ph.D. from the New York University Philosophy Department in 2013.  In her dissertation, A Moral Critique of Moral Philosophy, which she wrote under the supervision of Professor David Velleman (NYU), she mainly argues that common philosophical assumption that morality requires a particular sort of “ground” – a morally neutral account of rightness and wrongness, which provides all-embracing, final and paradox-free answers to questions such as “What in the end makes any moral statement true or false?” and “What is the ultimate source of normativity?” – is itself morally problematic. 

Melis grew up in Turkey, loved learning at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York ( this year, and is very excited about being a postdoctoral fellow at the Shalem Center in 2013-2014.

Is the Hebrew Bible Moral Realist or Anti-Realist – or Neither?

If what is morally right or wrong were ultimately a function of our actual opinions, as moral anti-realists think it is, then even the most reprehensible actions would be morally right, had we approved of them. Many moral philosophers find this conclusion objectionably permissive, and to avoid it they posit a moral reality that grounds all moral truths and exists independently of what anyone thinks – these are the moral realists. In this essay, first I argue that both of these positions are objectionable from a purely moral point of view, and therefore that the best answer to the classic meta-ethical question “Is what we morally ought to do ultimately a function of our actual attitudes, or determined independently of them?” might be ‘Neither!’ Then, I explore the possibility that this is indeed the Hebrew Bible’s answer to the question.