The insufficience of supervenient explanations of moral actions: Really taking Darwin and the naturalistic fallacy seriously [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 6 (4):439-445 (1991)
In a recent paper in this journal (Rottschaefer and Martinsen 1990) we have proposed a view of Darwinian evolutionary metaethics that we believe improves upon Michael Ruse's (e.g., Ruse 1986) proposals by claiming that there are evolutionary based objective moral values and that a Darwinian naturalistic account of the moral good in terms of human fitness can be given that avoids the naturalistic fallacy in both its definitional and derivational forms while providing genuine, even if limited, justifications for substantive ethical claims. Jonathan Barrett (this issue) has objected to our proposal contending that we cannot hold for the reality of supervenient moral properties without either falling foul of the naturalistic fallacy or suffering the consequences of postulating inexplicable moral properties. In reply, we show that Barrett's explicit arguments that we commit either the definitional or derivational form of the naturalistic fallacy fail and that his naturalistic intuitions that supervenience explanations of moral properties by nonmoral properties force us into what we call the explanatory form of the naturalistic fallacy also fail. Positively, his objections help us to clarify the nature of the naturalistic fallacy within an evolutionary based naturalistic ethics and to point out the proper role of both supervenience explanations and moral explanations in such an ethics.
|Keywords||Ethics evolution evolutionary ethics M. Ruse naturalistic fallacy supervenience supervenience explanations|
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References found in this work BETA
David Owen Brink (1989). Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Michael Ruse (1986/1998). Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy. Prometheus Books.
Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.) (1989). Scientific Explanation. Univ of Minnesota Pr.
Alan Garfinkel (1984). Forms of Explanation: Rethinking the Questions in Social Theory. Philosophical Review 93 (1):116-118.
Jaegwon Kim (1984). Supervenience and Supervenient Causation. Southern Journal of Philosophy Supplement 22 (S1):45-56.
Citations of this work BETA
John Lemos (1999). Bridging the Is/Ought Gap with Evolutionary Biology: Is This a Bridge Too Far? Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):559-577.
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