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Ethical Non-Naturalism and the Metaphysics of Supervenience

In Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol 7. pp. 205 (2012)

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  1. Is There a Supervenience Problem for Robust Moral Realism?Jamie Dreier - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1391-1408.
    The paper describes the problem for robust moral realism of explaining the supervenience of the moral on the non-moral, and examines five objections to the argument: The moral does not supervene on the descriptive, because we may owe different obligations to duplicates. If the supervenience thesis is repaired to block, it becomes trivial and easy to explain. Supervenience is a moral doctrine and should get an explanation from within normative ethics rather than metaethics. Supervenience is a conceptual truth and should (...)
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  • Hume’s Dictum and Metaethics.Victor Moberger - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):328-349.
    This paper explores the metaethical ramifications of a coarse-grained criterion of property identity, sometimes referred to as Hume's dictum. According to Hume's dictum, properties are identical if and only if they are necessarily co-extensive. Assuming the supervenience of the normative on the natural, this criterion threatens the non-naturalist view that there are instantiable normative properties which are distinct from natural properties. In response, non-naturalists typically point to various counterintuitive implications of Hume's dictum. The paper clarifies this strategy and defends it (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Moral Explanations.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15.
    It’s commonly held that particular moral facts are explained by ‘natural’ or ‘descriptive’ facts, though there’s disagreement over how such explanations work. We defend the view that general moral principles also play a role in explaining particular moral facts. More specifically, we argue that this view best makes sense of some intuitive data points, including the supervenience of the moral upon the natural. We consider two alternative accounts of the nature and structure of moral principles—’the nomic view’ and ‘moral platonism’—before (...)
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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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  • What Do You Mean “This Isn’T the Question”?David Enoch & Tristram McPherson - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):820-840.
    This is a contribution to the symposium on Tim Scanlon’s Being Realistic about Reasons. We have two aims here: First, we ask for more details about Scanlon’s meta-metaphysical view, showing problems with salient clarifications. And second, we raise independent objections to the view – to its explanatory productivity, its distinctness, and the argumentative support it enjoys.
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  • What is (In)Coherence?Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13:184-206.
    Recent work on rationality has been increasingly attentive to “coherence requirements”, with heated debates about both the content of such requirements and their normative status (e.g., whether there is necessarily reason to comply with them). Yet there is little to no work on the metanormative status of coherence requirements. Metaphysically: what is it for two or more mental states to be jointly incoherent, such that they are banned by a coherence requirement? In virtue of what are some putative requirements genuine (...)
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  • Conciliationism and Uniqueness.Nathan Ballantyne & E. J. Coffman - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):657-670.
    Two theses are central to recent work on the epistemology of disagreement: Conciliationism:?In a revealed peer disagreement over P, each thinker should give at least some weight to her peer's attitude. Uniqueness:?For any given proposition and total body of evidence, the evidence fully justifies exactly one level of confidence in the proposition. 1This paper is the product of full and equal collaboration between its authors. Does Conciliationism commit one to Uniqueness? Thomas Kelly 2010 has argued that it does. After some (...)
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  • Depending on the Thick.Debbie Roberts - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):197-220.
    The claim that the normative depends on the non-normative is just as entrenched in metanormative theory as the claim that the normative supervenes on the non-normative. It is widely held to be a genuine truism, a conceptual truth that operates as a constraint on competence with normative concepts. Call it the dependence constraint. I argue that this status is unwarranted. While it is true that the normative is dependent, it is not a genuine truism, or a conceptual truth, that it (...)
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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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  • Normativity All the Way Down: From Normative Realism to Pannormism.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):4107-4124.
    In this paper, I provide an argument for pannormism, the view according to which there are normative properties all the way down. In particular, I argue for what I call the trickling down principle, which says that if there is a metaphysically basic normative property, then, if whatever instantiates it has a ground, that ground instantiates it as well.
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  • Against Reductive Ethical Naturalism.Justin Klocksiem - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):1991-2010.
    This paper raises an objection to two important arguments for reductive ethical naturalism. Reductive ethical naturalism is the view that ethical properties reduce to the properties countenanced by the natural and social sciences. The main arguments for reductionism in the literature hold that ethical properties reduce to natural properties by supervening on them, either because supervenience is alleged to guarantee identity via mutual entailment, or because non-reductive supervenience relations render the supervenient properties superfluous. After carefully characterizing naturalism and reductionism, we (...)
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  • Grounding the Normative: A Problem for Structured Non-Naturalism.Justin Morton - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):173-196.
    Many non-naturalists about the normative want to endorse the view that some normative facts hold in virtue of both non-normative facts and normative principles. In this paper, I argue that non-naturalism is inconsistent with this thesis, due to the nature of normative principles and their grounds. I then consider two ways in which the nonnaturalist position could be modified or expanded to solve this problem. No solution, it turns out, is without its problems. I end by considering how the non-naturalist (...)
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  • Essentially Grounded Non-Naturalism and Normative Supervenience.Toppinen Teemu - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):645-653.
    Non-naturalism – roughly the view that normative properties and facts are sui generis and incompatible with a purely scientific worldview – faces a difficult challenge with regard to explaining why it is that the normative features of things supervene on their natural features. More specifically: non-naturalists have trouble explaining the necessitation relations, whatever they are, that hold between the natural and the normative. My focus is on Stephanie Leary's recent response to the challenge, which offers an attempted non-naturalism-friendly explanation for (...)
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  • The Sense of Incredibility in Ethics.Nicholas Laskowski - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):93-115.
    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 (...)
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  • 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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  • Against Grounding Necessitarianism.Alexander Skiles - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (4):717-751.
    Can there be grounding without necessitation? Can a fact obtain wholly in virtue of metaphysically more fundamental facts, even though there are possible worlds at which the latter facts obtain but not the former? It is an orthodoxy in recent literature about the nature of grounding, and in first-order philosophical disputes about what grounds what, that the answer is no. I will argue that the correct answer is yes. I present two novel arguments against grounding necessitarianism, and show that grounding (...)
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  • Hybrid Non-Naturalism Does Not Meet the Supervenience Challenge.David Faraci - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (3).
    It is widely agreed that normative properties supervene on natural properties. Non-naturalists face a distinctive challenge to explain this relation. Stephanie Leary argues that non-naturalists can meet this explanatory demand by positing the existence of hybrid normative properties. I argue that this proposal does not meet the supervenience challenge.
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  • Reply to Wilson Mendonça’s “Supervenience Arguments Against Robust Moral Realism”.Rafael Graebin Vogelmann - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (3).
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  • Argumentos de Superveniência Contra o Realismo Moral Robusto.Wilson Mendonça - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (1).
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  • The Mackiean Supervenience Challenge.Victor Moberger - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):219-236.
    Non-naturalists about normativity hold that there are instantiable normative properties which are metaphysically discontinuous with natural properties. One of the central challenges to non-naturalism is how to reconcile this discontinuity with the supervenience of the normative on the natural. Drawing on J. L. Mackie’s seminal but highly compressed discussion in Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, this paper argues that the supervenience challenge as usually conceived is merely a symptom of a more fundamental challenge in the vicinity.
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  • Is Irreducible Normativity Impossibly Queer?Teemu Toppinen - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (4):437-460.
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  • The Supervenience Challenge to Non-Naturalism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 170-84.
    This paper is a survey of the supervenience challenge to non-naturalist moral realism. I formulate a version of the challenge, consider the most promising non-naturalist replies to it, and suggest that no fully effective reply has yet been given.
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  • Can the Canberrans’ Supervenience Argument Refute Shapeless Moral Particularism?Peter Tsu - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):545-560.
    Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, and Philip Pettit contend in their 2000 paper that an argument from supervenience deals a fatal blow to shapeless moral particularism, the view that the moral is shapeless with respect to the natural. A decade has passed since the Canberrans advanced their highly influential supervenience argument. Yet, there has not been any compelling counter-argument against it, as far as I can see. My aim in this paper is to fill in this void and defend SMP against (...)
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  • Scanlon’s Modal Metaphysics.Gideon Rosen - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):856-876.
    In Being Realistic About Reasons T. M. Scanlon argues that particular fact about reasons are explained by contingent non-normative facts together with pure normative principles. A question then arises about the modal status of these pure principles. Scanlon maintains that they are necessary in a sense, and suggests that they are ‘metaphysically’ necessary. I argue that the best view for Scanlon to take, given his other commitments, is that these pure normative principles are metaphysically contingent in some cases and necessary (...)
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  • Can Moral Principles Explain Supervenience?Aaron Elliott - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (4):629-659.
    The distribution of moral properties supervenes on the distribution of natural properties, and this provides a puzzle for non-naturalism: what could explain supervenience if moral properties are not natural properties? Enoch claims moral principles explain supervenience. But this solution is incomplete without an account of what moral principles and properties are, and what relation holds between them. This paper begins to develop such an account by exploring analogous issues for Realism about Laws of nature in philosophy of science. Appealing to (...)
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