Naturalism, non-factualism, and normative situated behaviour

South African Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):80-98 (2018)
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Abstract

This paper argues that the normative character of our unreflective situated behaviour is not factual. We highlight a problematic assumption shared by the two most influential trends in contemporary philosophy of cognitive science, reductionism and enactivism. Our intentional, normative explanations are referential, descriptive or factual. Underneath this assumption lies the idea that only facts can make true or false our attributions of cognitive, mental and agential abilities. We will argue against this view by describing the main features and problems of reductionism and enactivism and then we will offer two arguments against this shared factualist assumption: (1) normative vocabulary is ineliminable if we want a complete explanation of our situated practices; and (2) the factualist assumption is a species of the is-ought fallacy. Finally, we will claim that a folk psychological explanation of our normative practices is fully compatible with ontological naturalism when such descriptivist or factualist assumption is rejected.

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