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The Nature of Normativity

Oxford University Press (2007)

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  1. Explaining Practical Normativity.Tristram McPherson - 2016 - Topoi:1-10.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises additional problems for the non-naturalist, and suggest grounds for optimism that a (...)
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  • ‘Ought’-Contextualism Beyond the Parochial.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3099-3119.
    Despite increasing prominence, ‘ought’-contextualism is regarded with suspicion by most metaethicists. As I’ll argue, however, contextualism is a very weak claim, that every metaethicist can sign up to. The real controversy concerns how contextualism is developed. I then draw an oft-overlooked distinction between “parochial” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are those that the speaker, or others in her environment, subscribe to—and “aspirational” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are the objective standards for the relevant domain. However, I argue that neither view (...)
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  • Is the Enkratic Principle a Requirement of Rationality?Andrew Reisner - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):436-462.
    In this paper I argue that the enkratic principle in its classic formulation may not be a requirement of rationality. The investigation of whether it is leads to some important methodological insights into the study of rationality. I also consider the possibility that we should consider rational requirements as a subset of a broader category of agential requirements.
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  • Internal Reasons.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press.
    Argues that "internalism about reasons" owes its appeal to a function argument from the nature of agency. Internalism is thus revealed as a species of ethical rationalism. (This paper introduces a volume of recent work on internal and external reasons.).
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  • Disagreements, Philosophical and Otherwise.Brian Weatherson - 2013 - In Jennifer Lackey & David Christensen (eds.), The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 54.
    Conciliatory theories of disagreement face a revenge problem; they cannot be coherently believed by one who thinks they have peers who are not conciliationists. I argue that this is a deep problem for conciliationism.
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  • Hohfeld on the Duties in Privileges and Claims.Daniel Simão Nascimento - 2018 - Filosofia Unisinos 19 (2).
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  • The Unity of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 23-45.
    What is normativity? It is argued here that normativity is best understood as a property of certain concepts: normative thoughts are those involving these normative concepts; normative statements are statements that express normative thoughts; and normative facts are the facts (if such there be) that make such normative thoughts true. Many philosophers propose that there is a single basic normative concept—perhaps the concept of a reason for an action or attitude—in terms of which all other normative concepts can be defined. (...)
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  • Outright Belief.Ralph Wedgwood - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):309–329.
    Sometimes, we think of belief as a phenomenon that comes in degrees – that is, in the many different levels of confidence that a thinker might have in various different propositions. Sometimes, we think of belief as a simple two-place relation that holds between a thinker and a proposition – that is, as what I shall here call "outright belief".
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  • Conciliation and Peer-Demotion in the Epistemology of Disagreement.Juan Comesana - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):237-252.
    What should your reaction be when you find out that someone that you consider an "epistemic peer" disagrees with you? Two broad approaches to this question have gained support from different philosophers. Precise characterizations of these approaches will be given later, but consider for now the following approximations. First, there is the "conciliatory" approach, according to which the right reaction to a disagreement is to move one's opinion towards that of one's peer, in proportion to the degree of trust that (...)
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  • Murdoch on the Sovereignty of Good.Kieran Setiya - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    Argues for an interpretation of Iris Murdoch on which her account of moral reasons has Platonic roots, and on which she gives an ontological proof of the reality of the Good. This reading explains the structure of Sovereignty, how Murdoch's claims differ from a focus on "thick moral concepts," and how to find coherent arguments in her book.
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  • Introduction.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Introduction 2 (23):153-160.
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  • Is Meaning Fraught with Ought?Daniel Whiting - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (4):535-555.
    According to Normativism, what an expression means has immediate implications for how a subject should or may employ that expression. Many view this thesis as imposing substantive constraints upon theories of linguistic meaning. In this paper, I shall not consider that view; instead, I shall address the prior issue of whether or not one should accept Normativism. Against certain recent prominent lines of attack common to a number of different anti‐Normativist discussions, I shall defend both the Normativist thesis and an (...)
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  • Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2).
    Many philosophers have been attracted to the view that reasons are premises of good reasoning – that reasons to φ are premises of good reasoning towards φ-ing. However, while this reasoning view is indeed attractive, it faces a problem accommodating outweighed reasons. In this article, I argue that the standard solution to this problem is unsuccessful and propose an alternative, which draws on the idea that good patterns of reasoning can be defeasible. I conclude by drawing out implications for the (...)
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  • Normativism and Doxastic Deliberation.Conor McHugh - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (4):447-465.
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  • Should I Believe the Truth?Daniel Whiting - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (2):213-224.
    Many philosophers hold that a general norm of truth governs the attitude of believing. In a recent and influential discussion, Krister Bykvist and Anandi Hattiangadi raise a number of serious objections to this view. In this paper, I concede that Bykvist and Hattiangadi's criticisms might be effective against the formulation of the norm of truth that they consider, but suggest that an alternative is available. After outlining that alternative, I argue that it is not vulnerable to objections parallel to those (...)
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  • Ought, Agents, and Actions.M. Schroeder - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):1-41.
    According to a naïve view sometimes apparent in the writings of moral philosophers, ‘ought’ often expresses a relation between agents and actions – the relation that obtains between an agent and an action when that action is what that agent ought to do. It is not part of this naïve view that ‘ought’ always expresses this relation – on the contrary, adherents of the naïve view are happy to allow that ‘ought’ also has an epistemic sense, on which it means, (...)
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  • Supervenience Arguments Under Relaxed Assumptions.Johannes Schmitt & Mark Schroeder - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (1):133 - 160.
    When it comes to evaluating reductive hypotheses in metaphysics, supervenience arguments are the tools of the trade. Jaegwon Kim and Frank Jackson have argued, respectively, that strong and global supervenience are sufficient for reduction, and others have argued that supervenience theses stand in need of the kind of explanation that reductive hypotheses are particularly suited to provide. Simon Blackburn's arguments about what he claims are the specifically problematic features of the supervenience of the moral on the natural have also been (...)
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  • Philosophy of Language for Metaethics.Mark Schroeder - 2012 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
    Metaethics is the study of metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, insofar as they relate to the subject matter of moral or, more broadly, normative discourse – the subject matter of what is good, bad, right or wrong, just, reasonable, rational, what we must or ought to do, or otherwise. But out of these four ‘core’ areas of philosophy, it is plausibly the philosophy of language that is most central to metaethics – and not simply (...)
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  • Semantics, Moral.Mark Schroeder - forthcoming - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
    Semantics is the investigation of meaning, and semantic theories, including semantic theories about moral language, come in two very different kinds. Descriptive semantic theories are theories about what words mean. So descriptive moral semantic theories are theories about what moral words mean: words like ‘good’, ‘better’, ‘right’, ‘must’, ‘ought’, ‘reason’, and ‘rational’. In contrast, foundational semantic theories are theories about why words mean what they do, or more specifically, about what makes it the case that words mean what they do. (...)
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  • Epistemic Self-Trust and Doxastic Disagreements.Fabienne Peter - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1189-1205.
    The recent literature on the epistemology of disagreement focuses on the rational response question: how are you rationally required to respond to a doxastic disagreement with someone, especially with someone you take to be your epistemic peer? A doxastic disagreement with someone also confronts you with a slightly different question. This question, call it the epistemic trust question, is: how much should you trust our own epistemic faculties relative to the epistemic faculties of others? Answering the epistemic trust question is (...)
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  • Moral Realism and Anti-Realism Outside the West: A Meta-Ethical Turn in Buddhist Ethics.Gordon Fraser Davis - 2013 - Comparative Philosophy 4 (2).
    In recent years, discussions of Buddhist ethics have increasingly drawn upon the concepts and tools of modern ethical theory, not only to compare Buddhist perspectives with Western moral theories, but also to assess the meta-ethical implications of Buddhist texts and their philosophical context. Philosophers aiming to defend the Madhyamaka framework in particular – its ethics and soteriology along with its logic and epistemology – have recently attempted to explain its combination of moral commitment and philosophical scepticism by appealing to various (...)
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  • A Defence of Metaphysical Ethical Naturalism.[author unknown] - unknown
    This dissertation is a defence of metaphysical ethical naturalism according to which there is a moral reality which is part of the natural world. The implication of this view is that moral properties, such as moral goodness, justice, compassion and so forth are part of the natural world, and inquiries concerning these moral entities are conducted in similar empirical ways of reasoning to that in which scientific inquiries are conducted. I defend metaphysical ethical naturalism by a variety of explanationist argument (...)
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  • XV—Normative Non-Naturalism and the Problem of Authority.Shamik Dasgupta - 2017 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (3):297-319.
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  • Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence.Jonas Olson - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
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  • Exclusion in Morality.Lei Zhong - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2):275-290.
    Recently some philosophers (e.g. Shafer-Landau 2003; Wedgwood 2007) suggest an exclusion problem for moral non-naturalism, which is similar to the exclusion problem in the philosophy of mind. In this paper, I aim to advance the discussion of exclusion in morality by investigating two influential solutions to the exclusion problem: the autonomy solution and the overdetermination solution. I attempt to show that the moral non-naturalist can solve the exclusion problem in a way that is different from the approach to solving mental-physical (...)
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  • Is the Norm on Belief Evaluative? A Response to McHugh.Alexander Greenberg & Christopher Cowie - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly:128-145.
    We respond to Conor McHugh's claim that an evaluative account of the normative relation between belief and truth is preferable to a prescriptive account. We claim that his arguments fail to establish this. We then draw a more general sceptical conclusion: we take our arguments to put pressure on any attempt to show that an evaluative account will fare better than a prescriptive account. We briefly express scepticism about whether McHugh's more recent ‘fitting attitude’ account fares better.
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  • Disagreement and Epistemic Peers.Jonathan Matheson - 2015 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    An introduction to the debate of the epistemic significance of peer disagreement. This article examines the epistemic significance of peer disagreement. It pursues the following questions: (1) How does discovering that an epistemic equal disagrees with you affect your epistemic justification for holding that belief? (e.g., does the evidence of it give you a defeater for you belief?) and (2) Can you rationally maintain your belief in the face of such disagreement? This article explains and motivates each of the central (...)
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  • On the Very Idea of Direction of Fit.Kim Frost - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):429-484.
    Direction of fit theories usually claim that beliefs are such that they “aim at truth” or “ought to fit” the world and desires are such that they “aim at realization” or the world “ought to fit” them. This essay argues that no theory of direction of fit is correct. The two directions of fit are supposed to be determinations of one and the same determinable two-place relation, differing only in the ordering of favored terms. But there is no such determinable (...)
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  • Reasons for Belief and Normativity.Glüer-Pagin Kathrin & Wikforss Åsa - 2017 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
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  • Moral Disagreement Among Philosophers.Ralph Wedgwood - 2014 - In Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.), Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution. Oxford University Press. pp. 23-39.
    There is not only moral disagreement among ordinary people: there is also moral disagreement among philosophers. Since philosophers might seem to be in the best possible position to reach the truth about morality, such disagreement may suggest that either there is no single truth about morality, or at least if there is, it is unknowable. The goal of this paper is to rebut this argument: the best explanation of moral disagreement among philosophers is quite compatible with the thesis that many (...)
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  • Must Rational Intentions Maximize Utility?Ralph Wedgwood - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup2):73-92.
    Suppose that it is rational to choose or intend a course of action if and only if the course of action maximizes some sort of expectation of some sort of value. What sort of value should this definition appeal to? According to an influential neo-Humean view, the answer is “Utility”, where utility is defined as a measure of subjective preference. According to a rival neo-Aristotelian view, the answer is “Choiceworthiness”, where choiceworthiness is an irreducibly normative notion of a course of (...)
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  • Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism.Andrew T. Forcehimes - unknown
    Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on (...)
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  • Fully Understanding Concept Possession.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2018 - Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía 50 (148):3-27.
    Can subjects genuinely possess concepts they do not understand fully? A simple argument can show that, on the assumption that possession conditions are taken to fully individuate concepts, this question must be answered in the negative. In this paper, I examine this negative answer as possibly articulated within Christopher Peacocke’s seminal theory. I then discuss four central lines of attack to the view that possession of concepts requires full understanding. I conclude that theorists should acknowledge the existence of indefinitely many (...)
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  • The Revisionist’s Rubric: Conceptual Engineering and the Discontinuity Objection.Michael Prinzing - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):854-880.
    ABSTRACTThis paper is about conceptual engineering. Specifically, it discusses a common objection to CE, which I call the Discontinuity Objection. According to the Discontinuity Objection, CE leads to problematic discontinuities in subject and/or inquiry – making it philosophically uninteresting or irrelevant. I argue that a conceptual engineer can dismiss the Discontinuity Objection by showing that the pre-engineering concept persists through the proposed changes. In other words, the Discontinuity Objection does not apply if the proposal involves identity-preserving changes. Two existing views (...)
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  • Moral Supervenience.Anandi Hattiangadi - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):592-615.
    It is widely held, even among nonnaturalists, that the moral supervenes on the natural. This is to say that for any two metaphysically possible worlds w and w′, and for any entities x in w and y in w′, any isomorphism between x and y that preserves the natural properties preserves the moral properties. In this paper, I put forward a conceivability argument against moral supervenience, assuming non-naturalism. First, I argue that though utilitarianism may be true, and the trolley driver (...)
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  • A Semantic Challenge to Non-Realist Cognitivism.David Copp - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):569-591.
    Recently, some philosophers have attempted to escape familiar challenges to orthodox nonnaturalist normative realism by abandoning the robust metaphysical commitments of the orthodox view. One such view is the ‘Non-Metaphysical Non-Naturalism’ or ‘Non-Realist Cognitivism’ proposed by Derek Parfit and a few others. The trouble is that, as it stands, Non-Realist Cognitivism seems unable to provide a substantive non-trivial account of the meaning and truth conditions of moral claims. The paper considers various strategies one might use to address the challenge. There (...)
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  • The Real and the Quasi-Real: Problems of Distinction.Jamie Dreier - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):532-547.
    This paper surveys some ways of distinguishing Quasi-Realism in metaethics from Non-naturalist Realism, including ‘Explanationist’ methods of distinguishing, which characterize the Real by its explanatory role, and Inferentialist methods. Rather than seeking the One True Distinction, the paper adopts an irenic and pragmatist perspective, allowing that different ways of drawing the line are best for different purposes.
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  • Expressivism, Meaning, and All That.Sebastian Köhler - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):337-356.
    It has recently been suggested that meta-normative expressivism is best seen as a meta-semantic, rather than a semantic view. One strong motivation for this is that expressivism becomes, thereby, compatible with truth-conditional semantics. While this approach is promising, however, many of its details are still unexplored. One issue that still needs to be explored in particular, is what accounts of propositional contents are open to meta-semantic expressivists. This paper makes progress on this issue by developing an expressivist-friendly deflationary account of (...)
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  • What’s the Matter with Huck Finn?Hrishikesh Joshi - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (1):70-87.
    This paper explores some key commitments of the idea that it can be rational to do what you believe you ought not to do. I suggest that there is a prima facie tension between this idea and certain plausible coherence constraints on rational agency. I propose a way to resolve this tension. While akratic agents are always irrational, they are not always practically irrational, as many authors assume. Rather, “inverse” akratics like Huck Finn fail in a distinctively theoretical way. What (...)
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  • Aesthetic Predicates: A Hybrid Dispositional Account.Teresa Marques - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):723-751, doi:10.1080/0020174X.20.
    This paper explores the possibility of developing a hybrid version of dispositional theories of aesthetic values. On such a theory, uses of aesthetic predicates express relational second-order dispositional properties. If the theory is not absolutist, it allows for the relativity of aesthetic values. But it may be objected to on the grounds that it fails to explain disagreement among subjects who are not disposed alike. This paper explores the possibility of adapting recent proposals of hybrid expressivist theories for moral predicates (...)
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  • A New Moral Sentimentalism.Eric Vogelstein - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):346-368.
    This paper argues for a novel sentimentalist realist metaethical theory, according to which moral wrongness is analyzed in terms of the sentiments one has most reason to have. As opposed to standard sentimentalist views, the theory does not employ sentiments that are had in response to morally wrong action, but rather sentiments that antecedently dispose people to refrain from immoral behavior, specifically the sentiments of compassion and respect.
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  • Epistemological Open Questions.Daniel Greco - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):509-523.
    While there has been a great deal of recent interest in parallels between metaethics and metaepistemology, there has been little discussion of epistemological analogues of the open question argument. This is somewhat surprising—the general trend in recent work is in the direction of emphasizing the continuity between metaethics and metaepistemology, and to treat metanormative questions as arising in parallel in these two normative domains. And while the OQA has been subjected to a wide variety of objections, it is still influential (...)
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  • Parfit, Derek. On What Matters. Vol. 3. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. 488. $45.00 .Singer, Peter, Ed. Does Anything Really Matter? Essays on Parfit on Objectivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. 288. $45.00. [REVIEW]Nicholas Laskowski - 2018 - Ethics 128 (2):496-505.
    Over the course of summarizing Volume Three and Does Anything Really Matter?, I argue that Parfit does not give us strong reason to think that Naturalists, Expressivists, and Non-Realist Cognitivists agree.
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  • Against Normative Naturalism.Matthew S. Bedke - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):111 - 129.
    This paper considers normative naturalism, understood as the view that (i) normative sentences are descriptive of the way things are, and (ii) their truth/falsity does not require ontology beyond the ontology of the natural world. Assuming (i) for the sake of argument, I here show that (ii) is false not only as applied to ethics, but more generally as applied to practical and epistemic normativity across the board. The argument is a descendant of Moore's Open Question Argument and Hume's Is-Ought (...)
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  • Why Conceptual Competence Won’T Help the Non-Naturalist Epistemologist.Preston J. Werner - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):616-637.
    Non-naturalist normative realists face an epistemological objection: They must explain how their preferred route of justification ensures a non-accidental connection between justified moral beliefs and the normative truths. One strategy for meeting this challenge begins by pointing out that we are semantically or conceptually competent in our use of the normative terms, and then argues that this competence guarantees the non-accidental truth of some of our first-order normative beliefs. In this paper, I argue against this strategy by illustrating that this (...)
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  • Epistemic Judgment and Motivation.Cameron Boult & Sebastian Köhler - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    Is there an epistemic analogue of moral motivational internalism? The answer to this question has implications for our understanding of the nature of epistemic normativity. For example, some philosophers have argued from claims that epistemic judgment is not necessarily motivating to the view that epistemic judgment is not normative. This paper examines the options for spelling out an epistemic analogue of moral motivational internalism. It is argued that the most promising approach connects epistemic judgments to doxastic dispositions, which are related (...)
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  • What is at Stake in Debates Among Normative Realists?Tristram McPherson - 2015 - Noûs 49 (1):123-146.
    One class of central debates between normative realists appears to concern whether we should be naturalists or reductionists about the normative. However, metaethical discussion of naturalism and reduction is often inconsistent, murky, or uninformative. This can make it hard to see why commitments relative to these metaphysical categories should matter to normative realists. This paper aims to clarify the nature of these categories, and their significance in debates between normative realists. I develop and defend what I call the joint-carving taxonomy, (...)
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  • Disagreement and the First‐Person Perspective.Gurpreet Rattan - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (1):31-53.
    Recently, philosophers have put forth views in the epistemology of disagreement that emphasize the epistemic relevance of the first-person perspective in disa- greement. In the first part of the paper, I attempt a rational reconstruction of these views. I construe these views as invoking the first-person perspective to explain why it is rational for parties to a disagreement to privilege their own opinions in the absence of independent explanations for doing so—to privilege without independent explanations. I reconstruct three ways privilege (...)
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  • The Symmetry of Rational Requirements.Jonathan Way - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):227-239.
    Some irrational states can be avoided in more than one way. For example, if you believe that you ought to A you can avoid akrasia by intending to A or by dropping the belief that you ought to A. This supports the claim that some rational requirements are wide-scope. For instance, the requirement against akrasia is a requirement to intend to A or not believe that you ought to A. But some writers object that this Wide-Scope view ignores asymmetries between (...)
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  • Disbelieving the Normativity of Content.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (4):441-456.
    Adherents as well as detractors of the normativity of mental content agree that its assessment crucially depends on the assessment of a principle for believing what is true. In this paper, I present an alternative principle, which is based on possession conditions for pure thinking or mere entertaining. I argue that the alternative approach has not been sufficiently emphasised in the literature and has two important merits. First, it yields a direct analysis of the normativity of mental content, which is, (...)
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