Why realists must reject normative quietism
- First Online:
- 146 Downloads
The last two decades have seen a surge of support for normative quietism: most notably, from Dworkin (1996, 2011), Nagel (1996, 1997), Parfit (2011a, b) and Scanlon (1998, 2014). Detractors like Enoch (2011) and McPherson (2011) object that quietism is incompatible with realism about normativity. The resulting debate has stagnated somewhat. In this paper I explore and defend a more promising way of developing that objection: I’ll argue that if normative quietism is true, we can create reasons out of thin air, so normative realists must reject normative quietism.
KeywordsQuietism Realism Reasons Normativity Morality Etiquette
- Carnap, R. (1937). The logical syntax of language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Dworkin, R. (2011). Justice for hedgehogs. Cambridge: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
- Field, H. (1989). Realism, mathematics and modality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
- Hart, H. L. A. (1994). The concept of law (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Hume, D. (1739). A treatise of human nature (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon. First edition by Selby-Bigge published in 1888.Google Scholar
- Joyce, R. (2015). Moral anti-realism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition) (forthcoming). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/moral-anti-realism/.
- Maguire, B. (2014, November 26). First strengths. T.M. Scanlon’s Being Realistic About Reasons. Times Literary Supplement. http://www.barrymaguire.com/uploads/2/3/2/7/23270406/maguire_first_strengths___tls.pdf.
- Nagel, T. (1996). The sources of normativity. Chapter Universality and the Reflective Self (pp. 200–209). Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Nagel, T. (1997). The last word. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Plunkett, D., & Sundell, T. (2013). Disagreement and the semantics of normative and evaluative terms. Philosophers’ Imprint, 13, 1–37.Google Scholar
- Rosen, G. (1994). Objectivity and modern idealism: What is the question? In M. Michael & J. O’Leary-Hawthorne (Eds.), Philosophy in mind: The place of philosophy in the study of mind. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- Scanlon, T. (1998). What we owe to each other. New York: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Wedgwood, R. (2015). Book review: Being realistic about reasons. The Philosophical Quarterly, 66, 213–217.Google Scholar
- Wright, C. (1992). Truth and objectivity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar