Kamonoha World


Tristram McPherson 'What is at stake in debates among normative realists?'

Two desiderata: 

- giving an clear account of 'naturalism' and 'reduction' in the way metaphysically interesting

- answering the proponents' theoretical interests 

Suggestion: the joint carving taxnomy appealing to David Lewis's notion of elite properties (also recently developed by Sider) 

Natural - Non-Natural, a bad distinction? 

- in other domains, the metaphysical debates are more specific? (the physical and the mind, the physical and the chemical, the physical and the sociological) 

- just a historical accident influenced by Moore? 

- the real issue is not metaphysical, but conceptual? (Gibbard 2003) 


- unlike the debate in philosophy of mind, the issues concerning the very nature of the normative is a live one (whether they are causally efficacious, whether science in principle is able to detect them, etc.) 

Problems of Standard Divisions 

- causal efficacy? : the divine command theorist might assume the possibility of God's causal intervention breaking laws of nature, but such a view should be inconsistent with naturalism 

- Copp style empirical/non-empirical (strongly a priori)?: some divine command theorists might accept the empirical investigation of God but such a theory should be in conflict with naturalism 

Lewisian distinction between elite or sparce properties and less elite or abundant properties: 

Just Local Debates?: if the task of a metaethicist is to elucidate the relationship between the subject matter of ethics and the subject matter other people work on, we might not need worry about the characterisation of the natural.

An example may be Schroeder. A natural reading of his claim (normative facts are facts about reasons, and facts about reasons are facts about desires) is a reductive naturalist thesis, but he himself is not happy with this characterisation (Schroeder 2017). 

- This approach ignores the theoretical interest among philosophers. 

- Boyd's approach eschew the local strategy. Boyd's suggestion is that whatever the detail of the characters of the normative, there is an attraction of understanding the normative in a naturalistic way. 

- One of the important issues the Moorean non-naturalists should address is the falsity of global naturalism. So, just elucidating the character of the normative does not suffice for its purpose. 

Naturalistic Reduction Appealing to the Notion of 'Elite Properties' 

Elite: the real definition of every elite normative property is provided by an elite property-forming function of the basic natural properties (assuming asymmetrical structure among the elite properties)

Moorean Non-naturalism: There are actual elite normative properties and the class of normative properties is a distinct metaphysical similarity class: (a) normative properties share an elite similarity shared by no other properties, and (b) normative properties do not share the elite similarities that characterize the natural or supernatural.