Advertisement

A dilemma for non-naturalists: irrationality or immorality?

  • Matthew S. BedkeEmail author
Article

Abstract

Either 1. the non-naturalist is in a state of mind that would treat as relevant information about the existence and patterns of non-natural properties and facts as they make up their mind about normative matters, or 2. the non-naturalist is in a state of mind that would treat as irrelevant information about the existence and patterns of non-natural properties and facts as they make up their mind about normative matters. The first state of mind is morally objectionable, for one should not change one’s normative beliefs to pander to the patterns of some non-natural realm. The second state of mind is irrational, for if you think you are aiming to represent non-natural properties correctly, you should (rationally) be interested to know which actions share a non-natural property and which do not, and you should (rationally) be prepared to change your mind accordingly.

Keywords

Normativity Non-naturalist realism Ethical idlers Moral epistemology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the audience at the Ways of Knowing Conference at SFU in 2018 and an anonymous referee for this journal for helpful feedback on an earlier draft.

References

  1. Bedke, M. (2014). A menagerie of duties? Normative judgments are not beliefs about non-natural properties. American Philosophical Quarterly, 51(3), 189–201.Google Scholar
  2. Blackburn, S. (1993). Errors and the Phenomenology of Value. In Essays in Quasi-Realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Blackburn, S. (2000). Ruling passions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chappell, R. (forthcoming). Why care about non-natural reasons? American Philosophical Quarterly.Google Scholar
  5. Cuneo, T. (2007). The normative web: An argument for moral realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cuneo, T., & Shafer-Landau, R. (2014). The moral fixed points: New directions for moral nonnaturalism. Philosophical Studies, 171(3), 399–443.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-013-0277-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dasgupta, S. (2017). Normative non-naturalism and the problem of authority. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 117(3), 297–319.  https://doi.org/10.1093/arisoc/aox016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dreier, J. (2015). Can reasons fundamentalism answer the normative question? In G. Bjornsson, C. Strandberg, R. Francen Olinder, J. Eriksson, F. Bjorklund (Eds.), Motivational internalism. Oxford Scholarship Online.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367955.003.0009.
  9. Eklund, M. (2017). Choosing normative concepts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Enoch, D. (2011). Taking morality seriously: A defense of robust realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. FitzPatrick, W. (2008). Robust ethical realism, non-naturalism and normativity. In R. Shafer-Landau (Ed.), Oxford studies in metaethics (Vol. 3, pp. 159–205). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. FitzPatrick, W. (2011). Ethical non-naturalism and normative properties. In M. Brady (Ed.), New waves in metaethics. New waves in philosophy (pp. 7–35). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. FitzPatrick, W. (2018). Representing ethical reality: A guide for worldly non-naturalists. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 48(3–4), 548–568.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00455091.2018.1432396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibbard, A. (2003). Thinking how to live. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hampton, J. (1998). The authority of reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hayward, M. (forthcoming). Immoral Realism. Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
  17. Heathwood, C. (2015). Irreducibly normative properties. In R. Shafer-Landau (Ed.), Oxford studies in metaethics (Vol. 10, pp. 216–244). Oxford: Oxford University Press.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738695.003.0009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Huemer, M. (2005). Ethical intuitionism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jackson, F. (1998). From metaphysics to ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. McPherson, T. (2018). Authoritatively normative concepts. In R. Shafer-Landau (Ed.), Oxford studies in metaethics (Vol. 13, pp. 253–277). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Nowell-Smith, P. H. (1954). Ethics. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  22. Parfit, D. (2011). On what matters: Volume two. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Scanlon, T. (2014). Being realistic about reasons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shafer-Landau, R. (2003). Moral realism: A defence. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wedgwood, R. (2001). Conceptual role semantics for moral terms. The Philosophical Review, 110(1), 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations