The World is Not Enough

Noûs 55 (1):86-101 (2019)
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Abstract

Throughout his career, Derek Parfit made the bold suggestion, at various times under the heading of the "Normativity Objection," that anyone in possession of normative concepts is in a position to know, on the basis of their competence with such concepts alone, that reductive realism in ethics is not even possible. Despite the prominent role that the Normativity Objection plays in Parfit's non-reductive account of the nature of normativity, when the objection hasn't been ignored, it's been criticized and even derided. We argue that the exclusively negative attention that the objection has received has been a mistake. On our reading, Parfit's Normativity Objection poses a serious threat to reductivism, as it exposes the uneasy relationship between our a priori knowledge of a range of distinctly normative truths and the typical package of semantic commitments that reductivists have embraced since the Kripkean revolution.

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Author Profiles

Nathan Robert Howard
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
N. G. Laskowski
University of Maryland, College Park

Citations of this work

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.
What Normativity Cannot Be.Matthew Bedke - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (2).
The Stuff That Matters.N. G. Laskowski - 2024 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies of Metaethics 19. Oxford University Press USA.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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