Reasons and the New Non-Naturalism
2009 (English)In: Spheres of Reason / [ed] Simon Robertson, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 164-182 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
This essay focuses on two recent trends in metaethics. One is the revival of non-naturalistic realism, or just non-naturalism for short. The other is the preoccupation with reasons. The two trends are not unconnected. The renewal of interest in non-naturalism seems to have gained fuel from the preoccupation with reasons. The essay distinguishes between old and new non-naturalism. Old non-naturalism places intrinsic goodness at the normative centre stage; new non-naturalism places the notion of a reason at the normative centre stage. There is a presentiment about, that new non-naturalism’s shift of focus from intrinsic goodness to reasons promises to make non-naturalism a more credible and viable metaethical position. This line of thinking involves a fallacy I propose to call the extensional fallacy. Unmasking the extensional fallacy reveals that the notion of a reason is no less problematic than the notion of intrinsic goodness, and that the supervenience of the normative on the natural is no less problematic for new non-naturalism than for old non-naturalism. Another currently popular view is this: On old non-naturalism goodness is reason-providing. But since it is intuitively incredible that goodness is reason-providing, old non-naturalism must be rejected in favour of new non-naturalism. The idea that goodness is not reason-providing is intuitively compelling and I argue that old non-naturalism is perfectly consistent with this idea; the contrary view is based on dubious readings of Moore.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. 164-182 p.
, Mind association occasional series
reasons, goodness, supervenience, extensional fallacy, Moore, buck-passing
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31709ISBN: 9780199572939OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-31709DiVA: diva2:278295