I don't see the usefulness of this at all. Of course one can make meta-ethical statements with reference to a particular subject; one can do that in any ethical system. "Jeffrey Dahmer approves of cannibalism" is as true under Confucian or Hindu ethics as it is under Christian ethics.) The logic is sound. But lacking a point of reference, MESR can't arrive at any ethical system.
All ethical systems need a point of reference. That point of reference logically must be either oneself or something that is not-oneself.
If the former, it is indeed solipsism, or at least narcissism.
If the latter, then something outside of oneself becomes the small-g "god" that determines the ethical import of a thing. That proxy deity can be the State, or the Market, or Democracy, or the Avant-Garde, or the Fuehrer, or Natural Selection, or what you will -- but in every case it is infallible under its own ethical system and can only be criticized by erecting an alternative ethical system in its place with its own other point of reference.
To say one will tear down an ethical system and have no ethical system in its place is nonsense -- it simply cannot happen. A statement renouncing ethical statements altogether, is itself an ethical statement! In this case Nihilism becomes the new proxy for God.
So the idea that MESR is sufficient apart from an ethical system is sophistical.
Weak meta-ethical subjective relativism (i.e with "if" replacing "if and only if" in the essay's definition) is perhaps too uncontroversially true to be interesting, but this point will come up in part 2 as a justification for accepting MESR on a skeptical basis.
I find quite odd the characterization of something outside oneself as any sort of "god" or "deity", capitalized or not. I definitely do believe that objective physical reality exists outside myself (and I have good scientific justification for believing so), but I don't construe physical reality as in any way "godlike" except on rare occasion in the broadest of poetic metaphor.
I'm also puzzled by the characterization of MESR as "solipsism".
Solipsism canonically means
A form of subjectivism or relativism which claims that one cannot know if physical reality or other human beings even exist -- one can know only one's own consciousness. [emphasis added]I'm certainly not denying the existence of physical reality or other human beings, although MESR does entail moral anti-objective-realism.
My formulation of MESR cannot even be accurately described in even the loosest sense of solipsism as "anti-external", since it specifically includes the minds and mind-dependent properties of people in general, all but one of whom are external to one's own mind.
If we were to interpret solipsism in what I consider the unacceptably loose sense as simply anti-objective-realist about something, then the charge of "solipsism" has no more persuasive force than it would to attempt to rebut anti-objective-realistic conclusions about the content of hallucinations. One should not be particularly surprised that a theory which is explicitly described as subjectivist is not in fact objectively-realistic.
I'm not at all able to locate a specifically philosophical interpretation of "narcissism"; the dictionary definition seems unproductively pejorative and the Freudian interpretation simply makes me blush.
Like any theory which talks about the truth, especially a theory that talks about knowing the truth, MESR does indeed have a "point of reference", in other words it is foundational: The foundation of MESR is the set of beliefs that people do in fact actually have, beliefs which can be adduced with the ordinary application of scientific epistemology or simple common sense.
The penultimate paragraph seems especially problematic:
To say one will tear down an ethical system and have no ethical system in its place is nonsense -- it simply cannot happen. A statement renouncing ethical statements altogether, is itself an ethical statement! In this case Nihilism becomes the new proxy for God.A statement about ethical statements is not itself an ethical statement; hence the distinction I draw between ethics and meta-ethics in the original essay. Such a distinction has a degree of philosophical respectability dating back at least to Russell and perhaps as far back as Aristotle.
It seems curious too that one could talk about making Nihilism--which is nothing--a God or even a proxy for god, although as an atheist I must say that the analogy is amusingly apt.
It's good, however, to see my remarks about framing and caging relativism receive such rapid empirical confirmation.