Moral Vagueness: A Dilemma for Non-Naturalism

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 9. Oxford University Press. pp. 152-185 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
In this paper I explore the implications of moral vagueness (viz., the vagueness of moral predicates) for non-naturalist metaethical theories like those recently championed by Shafer-Landau, Parfit, and others. I characterise non-naturalism in terms of its commitment to 7 theses: Cognitivism, Correspondence, Atomism, Objectivism, Supervenience, Non-reductivism, and Rationalism. I start by offering a number of reasons for thinking that moral predicates are vague in the same way in which ‘red’, ‘tall’, and ‘heap’ are said to be. I then argue that the moral non-naturalist seeking to countenance moral vagueness faces a dilemma: are moral properties vague, or perfectly sharp? On either horn of the dilemma, serious problems arise for some of the central tenets of non-naturalism: vague properties seem to threaten Objectivism, Supervenience, and Non-reductivism; on the other hand, sharp properties raise problems for Supervenience and Rationalism. The difficulties on each horn of the dilemma are real, and while they may not be insuperable, they do, at the very least, drastically limit the things non-naturalists can consistently say about moral properties, facts, and reasons.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
CONMVA
Revision history
First archival date: 2013-08-14
Latest version: 3 (2014-08-11)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Vague Value.Tom Dougherty - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):352-372.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2013-08-15

Total downloads
1,540 ( #723 of 37,176 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
215 ( #1,287 of 37,176 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.