Moral supervenience

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):592-615 (2018)

Abstract

It is widely held, even among nonnaturalists, that the moral supervenes on the natural. This is to say that for any two metaphysically possible worlds w and w′, and for any entities x in w and y in w′, any isomorphism between x and y that preserves the natural properties preserves the moral properties. In this paper, I put forward a conceivability argument against moral supervenience, assuming non-naturalism. First, I argue that though utilitarianism may be true, and the trolley driver is permitted to kill the one to save the five, there is a conceivable scenario that is just like our world in all natural respects, yet at which deontology is true, and the trolly driver is not permitted to kill the one to save the five. I then argue that in the special case of morality, it is possible to infer from the conceivability of such a scenario to its possibility. It follows that supervenience is false.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-03-14

Downloads
132 (#91,117)

6 months
11 (#68,478)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Anandi Hattiangadi
Stockholm University

Citations of this work

The Metaphysics of Moral Explanations.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15.
Resisting Reductive Realism.N. G. Laskowski - 2020 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 15. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 96 - 117.
The Mackiean Supervenience Challenge.Victor Moberger - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):219-236.
Nomic Moral Naturalness.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-22.
Hume’s Dictum and Metaethics.Victor Moberger - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):328-349.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Supervenience Revisited.Simon W. Blackburn - 1984 - In Ian Hacking (ed.), Exercises in Analysis: Essays by Students of Casimir Lewy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 59--74.
Supervenience.Harold W. Noonan - 1987 - Philosophical Quarterly 37 (January):78-85.
Divine Command Theory and Moral Supervenience.Blake McAllister - 2016 - Philosophia Christi 18 (1):65-78.
Anti-Reductionism and Supervenience.Michael Ridge - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (3):330-348.
Can Moral Principles Explain Supervenience?Aaron Elliott - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (4):629-659.
Supervenience and Moral Dependence.Michael R. Depaul - 1987 - Philosophical Studies 51 (3):425 - 439.
Varieties of Supervenience.Brian P. McLaughlin - 1995 - In Elias E. Savellos & U. Yalcin (eds.), Supervenience: New Essays. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16--59.
Problems for Moral/Natural Supervenience.David E. Alexander - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (1):73 - 84.
The Supervenience Challenge to Non-Naturalism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 170-84.