Normativity, necessity, and the synthetic a priori a response to Derek Parfit

Christine M. Korsgaard
Harvard University
If I understand him correctly, Derek Parfit’s views place us, philosophically speaking, in a very small box. According to Parfit, normativity is an irreducible non-natural property that is independent of the human mind. That is to say, there are normative truths - truths about what we ought to do and to want, or about reasons for doing and wanting things. The truths in question are synthetic a priori truths, and accessible to us only by some sort of rational intuition. Parfit supposes that if we are to preserve the irreducibility of the normative, this is just about all we can say, at least until we bring in some actual intuitions to supply the story with some content.
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