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On What MattersVolume Two$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572816

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199572816.001.0001

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The Triviality Objection

The Triviality Objection

(p.328) 26 The Triviality Objection
On What Matters

Samuel Scheffler

Oxford University Press

This chapter is about Triviality Objection. It first examines normative concepts and natural properties, including the concept of the natural property that makes acts right and the concept of being blameworthy. It then considers the Naturalists' use of analogies with scientific discoveries, such as the discovery that water is H2O or that heat is molecular kinetic energy, and argues that such analogies partly fail. It also tackles the Non-Analytical Naturalism belief that any true normative claim states some fact that is both normative and natural. If this fact were natural, it could also be stated by some non-normative claim. If these claims stated the same fact, they would give us the same information. Such claims could not state facts that are both normative and natural. When we say that we ought to act in some way, we are making a substantive claim, which might state a positive substantive normative fact. If these forms of Naturalism were true, such claims would not be substantive, but would be trivial. So these forms of Naturalism cannot be true.

Keywords:   normative concepts, Triviality Objection, natural properties, scientific discoveries, Non-Analytical Naturalism, Naturalism

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