Why naturalism?

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (2):179-200 (2003)

Authors
David Copp
University of California, Davis
Abstract
My goal in this paper is to explain what ethical naturalism is, to locate the pivotal issue between naturalists and non-naturalists, and to motivate taking naturalism seriously. I do not aim to establish the truth of naturalism nor to answer the various familiar objections to it. But I do aim to motivate naturalism sufficiently that the attempt to deal with the objections will seem worthwhile. I propose that naturalism is best understood as the view that the moral properties are natural in the sense that they are empirical. I pursue certain issues in the understanding of the empirical. The crux of the matter is whether any synthetic proposition about the instantiation of a moral property is strongly a priori in that it does not admit of empirical evidence against it. I propose an argument from epistemic defeaters that, I believe, undermines the plausibility of a priorism in ethics and supports the plausibility of naturalism.
Keywords a priori  causal properties  empirical  moral properties  naturalism  non-naturalism
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DOI 10.1023/A:1024420725408
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Recent Faces of Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):850-879.
Some Good and Bad News for Ethical Intuitionism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):489–511.
Normative Appeals to the Natural.Pekka Väyrynen - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):279 - 314.

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