Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism

Abstract

Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on reasonhood being a relation, that reasonhood is an abstract universal. If reasonhood is an abstract universal, then we can non-question-beggingly assert that the counting in favor of relation is a general kind or genus. This poses a dilemma for non-analytic naturalists: either they need to give the same reductive analysis for epistemic and practical reasons, or they can give a different analyses by treating epistemic and practical reasons as a species of the larger genus. However, the former looks extensionally implausible epistemic reasons are not desire-based and the latter entails that the reduction, via a violation of irreflexivity, fails to ground reasonhood. Naturalistic reductions of the normative, accordingly, face a damning dilemma. We should, in the face of this argument, thus accept a robust form of non-naturalist realism

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Andrew T. Forcehimes
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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