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On What MattersVolume Three$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778608

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198778608.001.0001

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Normative and Natural Truths

Normative and Natural Truths

Chapter:
(p.65) 39 Normative and Natural Truths
Source:
On What Matters
Author(s):

Derek Parfit

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198778608.003.0004

This chapter considers arguments for and against normative naturalism. According to the normativity objection, irreducibly normative, reason-implying claims could not, if they were true, state normative facts that were also natural facts. When some naturalists reply to the normativity objection, they appeal to cases in which words with quite different meanings, and the concepts they express, refer to the same property. According to non-analytical naturalists, though we make some irreducibly normative claims, these claims, when they are true, state natural facts. Such views take two forms. Hard naturalists believe that, since all facts are natural, we do not need to make any such irreducibly normative claims. According to soft naturalists, we do need to make such claims. Soft naturalism, this chapter argues, could not be true. If there were no irreducibly normative truths, our normative beliefs could not help us to make good decisions and to act well.

Keywords:   normative and natural truths, normative naturalism, normativity objection, hard naturalism, soft naturalism, triviality objection

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