Tag Archives: moral naturalism

David Copp

[M]oral nonnaturalism faces the challenge of explaining the normativity of morality just as much as does moral naturalism. If normativity needs to be explained, it is not explained by giving up on naturalistic ways of explaining it. Antireductionist forms of nonnaturalism that view moral properties as sui generis face an especially difficult problem, for they appear simply to postulate normativity. It is unclear how they could explain it.

David Copp, Morality in a Natural World: Selected Essays in Metaethics, Cambridge, 2007, p. 282

Kit Fine

[T]he much-vaunted analogy with natural kinds is of little help, and actually stands in the way of seeing what the mechanism might be. For our beliefs concerning natural kinds are not in general independent of perceptual experience. If we were to learn that most of our perceptual experience was non-veridical, then little would be left of our knowledge of natural kinds. The brain-in-the-vat is at a severe epistemic disadvantage in coming to any form of scientific knowledge; and if there really were an analogy between our understanding of scientific and of ethical terms, then one would expect him to be at an equal disadvantage in the effort to acquire moral wisdom. It is for this reason that the continuity in moral and scientific inquiry so much stressed by writers such as Boyd and Railton appears entirely misplaced. A much better analogy is with our understanding of mathematical terms, for which the idea of a hookup with the real world is far less plausible.

Kit Fine, ‘The Varieties of Necessity’, in Modality and Tense: Philosophical Papers, Oxford, 2005, p. 258