Naturalism and the Buck-Passing Account of Value

Philosophical Writings 32:58-77 (2006)
It has been thought that the prospects for non-naturalism about normativity may be significantly advanced if non-naturalists take the relation of being a reason as the basic normative entity, and so if, inter alia, they endorse a buck-passing account of value. This is thought to yield theoretical benefits regarding (i) the open question argument, (ii) the defence against the charge of queerness, and (iii) demands of parsimony. In the paper I contest these claims. Non- naturalists need not focus on reasons, and so need not, as non-naturalists, endorse a buck-passing account of value. They can choose to hold evaluative notions to be the basic ones, or to have a (reasoned) plurality of basic normative concepts and properties. The debate with the naturalist in those three respects is not going to be significantly influenced by such preliminary conceptual decisions.
Keywords Buck-passing  Reasons  Value  Non-naturalism
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