Moral discourse and descriptive properties

Philosophical Quarterly 55 (220):475–494 (2005)
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I discuss a strategy for grounding ethical naturalism propounded by Frank Jackson and more recently by Allan Gibbard: that the undisputed supervenience of the moral upon the natural (or descriptive) entails that moral properties are natural (or descriptive) properties. I show that this strategy falls foul of certain indubitable constraints governing natural kinds; and I then rebut some objections. The upshot is that no viable strategy for supporting ethical naturalism is to be found along these lines. This result has additional consequences, both for Jackson's attempt to accommodate ethical discourse into the natural world, and for Gibbard's purported 'meta-ethical synthesis'



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Brad Majors
Baker University

Citations of this work

Are There Irreducibly Normative Properties?Bart Streumer - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):537-561.
Why There Really Are No Irreducibly Normative Properties.Bart Streumer - 2013 - In David Bakhurst, Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Thinking about Reasons: Themes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy. Oxford University Press. pp. 310-336.
Non-Naturalism and Reference.Jussi Suikkanen - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11 (2):1-24.

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References found in this work

The metaphysics of irreducibility.Derk Pereboom & Hilary Kornblith - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 63 (August):125-45.

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