Kamonoha World


Terence Cuneo, 'Recent Faces of Moral Non-Naturalism'

Two aims: 

- non-naturalism should be understood not as a position, rather a stance. 

- arguments for non-naturalism proposed by Fine, Shafer-Landau, and Hampton

What is non-naturalism? 

- the standard view is that according to non-naturalism, there are some moral properties which are not natural (Sturgeon 2007).  

- Copp's suggestion: non-natural properties are the ones their propositions are synthetic and strongly a priori 

- Cuneo argues that non-naturalists do not have to accept this suggestion (too strong!). Non-naturalists do not have to accept the idea that some moral propositions are immune to empirical evidence (the existence of disagreement among epistemic peers). Also, a plausible view on a pirori defended by BonJour, Casullo, Plantiga assumes that a priori are fallibilistic in character. 

- Following van Fraasen, non-naturalism may be understood as a stance. 

- Timmons's idea about two aims of metaethical inquiries, the internal project (comporting well with ordinary assumptions of our moral discourse) and the external project (the coherence with science). 

- non-naturalism is a stance which prioritise the internal project while naturalism is a stance which values the external project more.

- an example of naturalism, Jackson's location problem  

Shafer-Landau's argument: 

- the ethics as philosophy argument 

- ethical inquiries and philosophical inquiries both employ a priori methods (whether there are universals vs whether eating animals is permissible) 

- one objection: the divine command theorist would not accept the idea that inquiries in ethics is a priori 

Fine's argument: 

- there are different varieties of necessities, and the normative cannot be reduced to either the metaphysical or the natural. 

- the normative necessity is the necessity between ordinary natural features and moral features 

- Cuneo argues that Fine's notion of normative necessity has some problems. For instance, the non-reductive naturalist would consider the relation between the natural and the non-natural in the same way they see the relations between, say, language use and meaning, brain and mind, the chemical and the biological, and so on. None of these should be understood as instances of normative necessity, something else. The same worry is raised by the non-naturalist. 

Hampton's argument

- in the moral domain we often offfer what she calls 'final cause explanation' or 'teleological explanation'. Naturalists fail to reduce these types of explanation to naturalistically respectable explanations. 

- Cuneo argues that naturalists should be willing to accept both non-robust and robust teleological explanations, and they could. 

Main issues? 

- naturalists and non-naturalists disagree on the emphasis of a priori moral knowledge. 

- naturalists and non-naturalists disagree on the explanation of action, the former gives a Humean-Davidsonian (reasons as causes) explanation while the latter rejects this approach.