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Ethical Naturalism

In David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press (2006)

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  1. Can There Be Government House Reasons for Action?Hille Paakunainen - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):56-93.
    I defend the relatively orthodox view that reasons for action are premises in good practical reasoning, against recent counterexamples that suggest that, like “government house” moral justifications, some reasons are to be ignored in deliberation. I also explain, positively, what is right about the orthodoxy. Unless reasons are premises in good practical reasoning, reasons cannot be normative in the way they are usually taken to be, and relatedly, are unfit to play certain familiar theoretical and related everyday roles that give (...)
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  • When Do Replies to the Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism Beg the Question?Justin Morton - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):265-280.
    ABSTRACTSome proponents of the evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism believe that replies that assume substantive moral claims beg the question. In this paper, I give a new account of what's wrong with such replies. On this account, many realists beg the question when they rely on substantive moral claims in their replies to the argument, but naturalists do not. While this account generalizes to some other domains, it allows perceptual and inductive realism to remain undebunked.
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  • Humanity, Virtue, Justice: A Framework for a Capability Approach.Benjamin James Bessey - unknown
    This Thesis reconsiders the prospects for an approach to global justice centring on the proposal that every human being should possess a certain bundle of goods, which would include certain members of a distinctive category: the category of capabilities. My overall aim is to present a clarified and well-developed framework, within which such claims can be made. To do this, I visit a number of regions of normative and metanormative theorising. I begin by introducing the motivations for the capability approach, (...)
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  • A Defence of Metaphysical Ethical Naturalism.[author unknown] - unknown
    This dissertation is a defence of metaphysical ethical naturalism according to which there is a moral reality which is part of the natural world. The implication of this view is that moral properties, such as moral goodness, justice, compassion and so forth are part of the natural world, and inquiries concerning these moral entities are conducted in similar empirical ways of reasoning to that in which scientific inquiries are conducted. I defend metaphysical ethical naturalism by a variety of explanationist argument (...)
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  • Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory.Victor Moberger - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (3).
    J. L. Mackie famously argued that a commitment to non-existent objective values permeates ordinary moral thought and discourse. According to a standard interpretation, Mackie construed this commitment as a universal and indeed essential feature of moral judgments. In this paper I argue that we should rather ascribe to Mackie a form of semantic pluralism, according to which not all moral judgments involve the commitment to objective values. This interpretation not only makes better sense of what Mackie actually says, but also (...)
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  • Intuition and Its Place in Ethics.Robert Audi - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1):57--77.
    ABSTRACT ABSTRACT: This paper provides a multifaceted account of intuition. The paper integrates apparently disparate conceptions of intuition, shows how the notion has figured in epistemology as well as in intuitionistic ethics, and clarifies the relation between the intuitive and the self-evident. Ethical intuitionism is characterized in ways that, in phenomenology, epistemology, and ontology, represent an advance over the position of W. D. Ross while preserving its commonsense normative core and intuitionist character. This requires clarifying the sense in which intuitions (...)
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  • Are Normative Properties Descriptive Properties?Bart Streumer - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (3):325 - 348.
    Some philosophers think that normative properties are identical to descriptive properties. In this paper, I argue that this entails that it is possible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I argue that Frank Jackson's argument to show that this is possible fails, and that the objections to this argument show that it is impossible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I conclude that normative properties are not identical to descriptive properties. I then (...)
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  • Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence.Jonas Olson - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
  • Exclusion in Morality.Lei Zhong - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2):275-290.
    Recently some philosophers (e.g. Shafer-Landau 2003; Wedgwood 2007) suggested an exclusion problem for moral non-naturalism, which is similar to the exclusion problem in philosophy of mind. In this article, the author aims to advance the discussion of exclusion in morality by investigating two influential solutions to the exclusion problem: the autonomy solution and the overdetermination solution. The author attempts to show that the moral non-naturalist can solve the exclusion problem in a way that is different from the approach to solving (...)
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  • Metaethical Internalism: Another Neglected Distinction.Jon Tresan - 2009 - Journal of Ethics 13 (1):51-72.
    ‘Internalism’ is used in metaethics for a cluster of claims which bear a family resemblance. They tend to link, in some distinctive way—typically modal, mereological, or causal—different parts of the normative realm, or the normative and the psychological. The thesis of this paper is that much metaethical mischief has resulted from philosophers’ neglect of the distinction between two different features of such claims. The first is the modality of the entire claim. The second is the relation between the items specified (...)
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  • How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism?David Enoch - 2009 - Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15-50.
    Moral disagreement is widely held to pose a threat for metaethical realism and objectivity. In this paper I attempt to understand how it is that moral disagreement is supposed to present a problem for metaethical realism. I do this by going through several distinct (though often related) arguments from disagreement, carefully distinguishing between them, and critically evaluating their merits. My conclusions are rather skeptical: Some of the arguments I discuss fail rather clearly. Others supply with a challenge to realism, but (...)
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  • Science’s Immunity to Moral Refutation.Alex Barber - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):633-653.
    Our moral convictions cannot, on the face of it, count in evidence against scientific claims with which they happen to conflict. Moral anti-realists of whatever stripe can explain this easily: science is immune to moral refutation because moral discourse is defective as a trustworthy source of true and objective judgments. Moral realists, they can add, are unable to explain this immunity. After describing how anti-realists might implement this reasoning, the paper argues that the only plausible realist comeback turns on the (...)
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  • The “Just Too Different” Objection to Normative Naturalism.Hille Paakkunainen - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    Consider normative properties and facts, such as facts consisting in something's being what you ought to do, or the property of being morally wrong. Normative naturalism is the view that normative properties and facts such as these exist, and that they are natural properties and facts. Some suspect, however, that normativity is incompatible with a wholly naturalistic worldview: that the normative couldn't be natural because it's somehow “just too different” from the natural. I critically examine recent forms of this “just (...)
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  • Semantic Normativity and Semantic Causality.Lei Zhong - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):626-645.
    Semantic normativism, which is the view that semantic properties/concepts are some kind of normative properties/concepts, has become increasingly influential in contemporary meta-semantics. In this paper, I aim to argue that semantic normativism has difficulty accommodating the causal efficacy of semantic properties. In specific, I raise an exclusion problem for semantic normativism, inspired by the exclusion problem in the philosophy of mind. Moreover, I attempt to show that the exclusion problem for semantic normativism is peculiarly troublesome: while we can solve mental-physical (...)
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  • Huemer’s Clarkeanism.Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):197-204.
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  • Can Cornell Moral Realism Adequately Account for Moral Knowledge?Elizabeth Tropman - 2012 - Theoria 78 (1):26-46.
    This article raises a problem for Cornell varieties of moral realism. According to Cornell moral realists, we can know about moral facts just as we do the empirical facts of the natural sciences. If this is so, it would remove any special mystery that is supposed to attach to our knowledge of objective moral facts. After clarifying the ways in which moral knowledge is to be similar to scientific knowledge, I claim that the analogy fails, but for little-noticed reasons. A (...)
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  • The Moral Fixed Points: New Directions for Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer-Landau - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):399-443.
    Our project in this essay is to showcase nonnaturalistic moral realism’s resources for responding to metaphysical and epistemological objections by taking the view in some new directions. The central thesis we will argue for is that there is a battery of substantive moral propositions that are also nonnaturalistic conceptual truths. We call these propositions the moral fixed points. We will argue that they must find a place in any system of moral norms that applies to beings like us, in worlds (...)
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  • Morality and Psychology.Chrisoula Andreou - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):46–55.
    This article briefly discusses the connection between moral philosophy and moral psychology, and then explores three intriguing areas of inquiry that fall within the intersection of the two fields. The areas of inquiry considered focus on (1) debates concerning the nature of moral judgments and moral motivation; (2) debates concerning good and bad character traits and character-based explanations of actions; and (3) debates concerning the role of moral rules in guiding the morally wise agent.
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  • An Ontological Sketch for Robust Non-Reductive Realists.Bruno Niederbacher - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):549-559.
    The aim of this article is to draw a sketch of an ontology for Realist Non-Naturalist Cognitivists. A distinction is made between moral property-universals and moral property-particulars. It is argued, first, that moral property-universals have the same ontological status as non-moral property-universals; second, that moral property-universals have many instances in the spatio-temporal world; third that these moral property-instances or -particulars have the same ontological status as non-moral property-particulars.
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  • Against Reductive Ethical Naturalism.Justin Klocksiem - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    This paper raises an objection to two important arguments for reductive ethical naturalism. Reductive ethical naturalism is the view that ethical properties reduce to the properties countenanced by the natural and social sciences. The main arguments for reductionism in the literature hold that ethical properties reduce to natural properties by supervening on them, either because supervenience is alleged to guarantee identity via mutual entailment, or because non-reductive supervenience relations render the supervenient properties superfluous. After carefully characterizing naturalism and reductionism, we (...)
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  • Recent Faces of Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):850-879.
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  • Moral Reasoning as Naturally Good: A Qualified Defense of Foot's Conception of Practical Rationality.Steven Hendley - 2015 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (4):427-449.
    Philippa Foot 's version of ethical naturalism, centered on the idea of “natural goodness,” has received a good deal of critical scrutiny. One pervasive criticism contends that less than virtuous modes of conduct may be described as naturally good or, at least, not naturally defective on her account. If true, this contradicts the most ambitious aspect of Foot 's naturalistic approach to ethics: to show that judgments of moral goodness are a subclass of judgments of natural goodness. But even if (...)
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  • Evolution and Human Behavior: Darwinian Perspectives on Human Nature.Mark Fedyk - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (5):723 - 726.
  • Naturalizing Psychedelic Spirituality.Chris Letheby - 2017 - Zygon 52 (3):623-642.
    A pressing philosophical problem is how to respond to the existential, anxiety and disenchantment resulting from a naturalistic worldview that eschews transcendent foundations for meaning and value. This problem is becoming more urgent as the popularization of neuroscientific findings renders a disenchanted conception of human beings ever more vivid, compelling, and widespread. I argue that the study of transformative experiences occasioned by classic psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin may reveal the nature of a viable practical solution (...)
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  • An Explanatory Challenge to Moral Reductionism.Lei Zhong - 2012 - Theoria 78 (4):309-325.
    It is generally believed that moral reductionism is immune from notorious problems in moral metaphysics and epistemology, such as the problem of moral explanation – it is at least on this dimension that moral reductionism scores better than moral anti- reductionism. However, in this article I reject this popular view. First, I argue that moral reductionism fails to help vindicate the explanatory efficacy of moral properties because the reductionist solution is either circular or otiose. Second, I attempt to show that (...)
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  • Four Faces of Moral Realism.Stephen Finlay - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):820-849.
    This essay explains for a general philosophical audience the central issues and strategies in the contemporary moral realism debate. It critically surveys the contribution of some recent scholarship, representing expressivist and pragmatist nondescriptivism, subjectivist and nonsubjectivist naturalism, nonnaturalism and error theory. Four different faces of ‘ moral realism ’ are distinguished: semantic, ontological, metaphysical, and normative. The debate is presented as taking shape under dialectical pressure from the demands of capturing the moral appearances and reconciling morality with our understanding of (...)
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  • Is Ethical Expertise Possible?Jukka Varelius - 2008 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 11 (2):127-132.
    Services of ethics committees are nowadays commonly used in such various spheres of life as health care, public administration, business, law, engineering, and scientific research. It is taken that as their members have expertise in ethics, these committees can have valuable contributions to make in solving practical moral problems. It has, however, also been maintained that it is simply absurd to claim that one has some special knowledge and skills in moral matters; in connection with moral questions there is no (...)
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  • Huemer's Clarkeanism. [REVIEW]Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):197 - 204.
    mark schroeder University of Southern California 1 When Samuel Clarke gave his second Boyle lectures in 1705, he alleged in favor of his nonreductive, rationalist, intuitionist view that only ‘the extremest stupidity of mind, corruption of manners, or perverseness of spirit, can possibly make any man entertain the least doubt’ concerning it.1 Michael Huemer’s Ethical Intuitionism is offered in the same spirit, though he makes no assurances concerning the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation.2 Not only are competing metaethical (...)
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  • Ethical Naturalism and Moral Twin Earth.Andrea Viggiano - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (2):213-224.
    In order to rebut G. E. Moore’s open question argument, ethical naturalists adopt a theory of direct reference for our moral terms. T. Horgan and M. Timmons have argued that this theory cannot be applied to moral terms, on the ground that it clashes with competent speakers’ linguistic intuitions. While Putnam’s Twin Earth thought experiment shows that our linguistic intuitions confirm the theory of direct reference, as applied to ‘water’, Horgan and Timmons devise a parallel thought experiment about moral terms, (...)
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