Moral supervenience and distinctness: comments on Dreier

Philosophical Studies:1-8 (forthcoming)
Joshua Gert
College of William and Mary
Jamie Dreier has argued that the supervenience of the moral on the non-moral requires explanation, and that attempts by the non-naturalist to provide it, or to sidestep the issue, have so far failed. These comments on Dreier first examine the notion of distinctness at work in the idea that non-natural properties are distinct from natural ones, pointing out that distinctness cannot be understood in modal terms if supervenience is to be respected. It then suggests that Dreier’s implicit commitment to the existence of infinite Boolean combinations of properties plays a significant role in the challenge to non-naturalism, and that the non-naturalist has some principled reasons for rejecting it. It also suggests that the real problem for non-naturalists isn’t explaining supervenience, but is rather the well-known problem of explaining our capacity to know anything about non-natural properties. That is, if the latter epistemological problem can be solved, the former metaphysical one might well disappear, at least as a distinctive problem for non-naturalist realists about morality.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01245-9
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