Against Normative Naturalism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):111 - 129 (2012)
Authors
Matthew Bedke
University of British Columbia
Abstract
This paper considers normative naturalism, understood as the view that (i) normative sentences are descriptive of the way things are, and (ii) their truth/falsity does not require ontology beyond the ontology of the natural world. Assuming (i) for the sake of argument, I here show that (ii) is false not only as applied to ethics, but more generally as applied to practical and epistemic normativity across the board. The argument is a descendant of Moore's Open Question Argument and Hume's Is-Ought Gap. It goes roughly as follows: to ensure that natural ontology suffices for normative truth, there must be semantically grounded entailments from the natural truths to the normative truths. There are none. So natural ontology does not suffice for normative truth.
Keywords normative naturalism  normative reduction  is-ought gap  open question argument
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DOI 10.1080/00048402.2011.562516
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Moral Supervenience.Anandi Hattiangadi - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):592-615.
A Dilemma for Non‐Analytic Naturalism.Andrew T. Forcehimes - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
Moore's "New" Open Question Argument.Peter A. Sutton - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (4):681-693.

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