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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 4, pp 897–914 | Cite as

Immoral realism

  • Max Khan HaywardEmail author
Article

Abstract

Non-naturalist realists are committed to the belief, famously voiced by Parfit, that if there are no non-natural facts then nothing matters. But it is morally objectionable to conditionalise all our moral commitments on the question of whether there are non-natural facts. Non-natural facts are causally inefficacious, and so make no difference to the world of our experience. And to be a realist about such facts is to hold that they are mind-independent. It is compatible with our experiences that there are no non-natural facts, or that they are very different from what we think. As Nagel says, realism makes scepticism intelligible. So the non-naturalist must hold that you might be wrong that your partner (for example) matters, even if you are correct about every natural, causal fact about your history and relationship. But to hold that conditional attitude to your partner would be a moral betrayal. So believing non-naturalist realism involves doing something immoral.

Keywords

Ethics Metaethics Moral realism Non-naturalism Non-naturalist realism Moral nihilism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Philip Kitcher, Justin Clarke-Doane, Christopher Peacocke, Simon Blackburn, Sharon Street, Robbie Kubala, Max Barkhausen, Christian Coons, Pekka Väyrynen, Shamik Dasgupta, Matt Bedke, Stephen Findlay, Aaron Zimmerman and audiences at Columbia University, Bowling Green State University, Temple University, University College London, McGill University, the University of Leeds, and the 2018 American Philosophical Association, The University of Edinburgh, Pacific Division for their helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bowling Green State University / University of SheffieldBowling GreenUSA

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