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Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 10$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738695.001.0001

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Irreducibly Normative Properties

Irreducibly Normative Properties

(p.216) 9 Irreducibly Normative Properties
Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 10

Chris Heathwood

Oxford University Press

Metaethical non-naturalists maintain that normative or evaluative properties cannot be reduced to, or otherwise explained in terms of, natural properties. They thus have difficulty explaining what these irreducibly normative properties are supposed to be, other than by saying what they are not. This chapter offers a partial, positive characterization of irreducible normativity in naturalistic terms. The chapter argues that to attribute a normative property to something is necessarily to commend or condemn that thing, due to the nature of the property attributed. This theory characterizes normativity in terms of the natural phenomenon of performing certain familiar speech acts. The hypothesis also provides for an account of the “queerness” of normative properties, one superior to other accounts; it explains why metaethical reductionism is bound to fail, in a way friendly to non-naturalism (as opposed to non-cognitivism); and it can help deflect arguments against non-naturalism from the “essential practicality” of normativity.

Keywords:   normativity, normative properties, non-naturalism, non-reductionism, non-cognitivism, metaethics, speech acts

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