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The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory$
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David Copp

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195147790.001.0001

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Ethical Naturalism

Ethical Naturalism

The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Nicholas L. Sturgeon (Contributor Webpage)

, David Copp
Oxford University Press

Ethical naturalism holds that ethical facts about such matters as good and bad, right and wrong, are part of a purely natural world — the world studied by the sciences. It is supported by the apparent reasonableness of many moral explanations. It has been thought to face an epistemological challenge because of the existence of an “is-ought gap”; it also faces metaphysical objections from philosophers who hold that ethical facts would have to be supernatural or “nonnatural,” sometimes on the grounds that ethical thought has a practical role that no thought about purely natural facts could have. Its defenders have argued resourcefully against these challenges.

Keywords:   ethical naturalism, moral explanations, is-ought gap, supernatural ethical facts, nonnatural ethical facts

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