What is at Stake in Debates among Normative Realists?

Noûs 49 (1):123-146 (2015)
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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, which builds on David Lewis’ notion of elite properties. I argue that this taxonomy is clear and metaphysically interesting, and answers to distinctive taxonomic interests of normative realists. I also suggest that it has important implications for the project of adjudicating debates among normative realists.
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