The sense of incredibility in ethics
- 180 Downloads
It is often said that normative properties are “just too different” to reduce to other kinds of properties. This suggests that many philosophers find it difficult to believe reductive theses in ethics. I argue that the distinctiveness of the normative concepts we use in thinking about reductive theses offers a more promising explanation of this psychological phenomenon than the falsity of Reductive Realism. To identify the distinctiveness of normative concepts, I use resources from familiar Hybrid views of normative language and thought to develop a Hybrid view of normative concepts. In addition to using this new Hybrid view to explain why reductive theses are difficult to believe, I show how to preserve several patterns of inference involving normative concepts that, intuitively, it is possible to make, and hence answer an important recent challenge to Hybrid views from Mark Schroeder.
KeywordsNormative concepts Hybridism Reductive realism Robust realism
Thanks to Renee Jorgensen Bolinger, David Copp, Terence Cuneo, Alexander Dietz, Stephen Finlay, Joe Horton, Nathan Robert Howard, Tanya Kostochka, Wooram Lee, Janet Levin, Michael Milona, Caleb Perl, Abelard Podgorski, Mark Schroeder, Tim Schroeder, and Ralph Wedgwood for extensive feedback. Thanks also to multiple audiences at the University of Southern California and University of Duisburg-Essen for asking thoughtful questions about this paper and the bigger project of which this paper is a part. I’m grateful Philosophical Studies, too, for both processing my submission quickly and providing highly constructive referee reports. Finally, I want to thank Amanda Prunesti especially for help with the illustrations.
- Ayer, A. (1936). Language, truth, and logic. Dover Publications.Google Scholar
- Balog, K. (2012). Acquaintance and the mind–body problem. In C. Hill & S. Gozzano (Eds.), Identity theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Boyd, R. (1988). How to be a moral realist. In G. Sayre-McCord (Ed.), Essays on moral realism (pp. 181–228). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Dancy, J. (2006). Nonnaturalism. In D. Copp (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of ethical theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Fitzpatrick, W. (2008). Robust ethical realism, non-naturalism, and normativity. Oxford Studies in Metaethics, 3, 159–205.Google Scholar
- Forcehimes, A. (2015). A dilemma for non-analytic naturalism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 97 (1), 1–20.Google Scholar
- Hay, R. (2014). Attitudinal requirements for moral thought and language: Noncognitive type-generality. In G. Fletcher & M. Ridge (Eds.), Having it both ways: Hybrid theories and modern metaethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hulse, D., Read, C., & Schroeder, T. (2004). The impossibility of conscious desire. American Philosophical Quarterly, 41(1), 73–80.Google Scholar
- Jackson, F. (1998). From metaphysics to ethics: A defence of conceptual analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Levin, J. (2006). What is a phenomenal concept? In T. Alter & S. Walter (Eds.), Phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge: New essays on consciousness and physicalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Loar, B. (1997). Phenomenal states. In N. Block, O. Flanagan, & G. Güzeldere (Eds.), The nature of consciousness: Philosophical debates. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Margolis, E., & Laurence, S. (2004). Concepts. In T. A. Warfield & S. P. Stich (Eds.), The Blackwell guide to the philosophy of mind (pp. 190–213). London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Mcginn, C. (2014). Reply. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/06/19/brains-and-minds-exchange/.
- Ogden, C., & Richards, I. (1923). The meaning of meaning.Google Scholar
- Rosen, G. (2017). Metaphysical relations in metaethics. In T. McPherson & D. Plunkett (Eds.), Handbook of metaethics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Schroeder, M. (2005). Realism and reduction: The quest for robustness. Philosophers’ Imprint, 5(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
- Schroeder, M. (2014). Truth in hybrid semantics. In G. Fletcher & M. Ridge (Eds.), Having it both ways: Hybrid theories and modern metaethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Stevenson, C. (1937). The emotive meaning of ethical terms. Reprinted in Stevenson (1963). Facts and values. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar