AbstractIn this paper I want to consider a kind of inexpressiveness that can characterize our moral experience. The acknowledgement of the possibility of failure in trying to word the world – to find adequate means of expression for our condition – deeply informs Cora Diamond’s conception of language and moral thought as well as her philosophical method. In particular, in her paper The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy Diamond is concerned with a resistance by reality to one’s ordinary modes of thinking and talking, the feeling of a mismatch between concepts and experience in which it is the nature of experience itself that deprives one of the words suitable to contain it. In this paper I want to show how a particular kind of moral conflict can be perspicuously described as a difficulty of reality. This conflict occurs when we lose the ability to conceive the moral world we inhabit as ours, when, that is, our self-conceptions clash with the requirements of morality and we find ourselves in the position of not being able to say what “morality” means for us anymore. Stanley Cavell speaks in this vicinity of the possibility of repudiating morality when it threatens our integrity. This distance between the subject and the world, the self and morality, which, in Cavell’s account of perfectionism, is a precondition for the development of an authentic moral perspective, is nonetheless neglected by metathical analyses in which the prominent occurrences of ethical disagreements pertain principally to the correct application of evaluative terms. I sketch Cavell’s analysis of disagreement in the light of his discussion of moral rationality. Then I connect the topic with Diamond’s notion of the “difficulty of reality,” developing the link between Diamonds and Cavell’s thought by using an example taken from Richard Yates’s novel Revolutionary Road. My aim will be twofold: the focus on Cavell’s conception of moral rationality, on the one hand, is intended to show how the traditional meta-ethical debate about disagreement is deflected in that it cannot acknowledge this kind of conflict; on the other hand, to speak of a difficulty of reality in the context of a perfectionist account of moral life is a way to give content to the idea of morality as “limited,” a way of understanding morality as of human origin.