Natural Norms

Philippa Foot

in Natural Goodness

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198235088
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597428 | DOI:
Natural Norms

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Foot defends her proposal to meet Hume's practicality requirement with a cognitivist ethical theory. The central feature of Foot's theory is that she places the evaluation of human action in the wider contexts not only of the evaluation of other features of human life, but also of evaluative judgements of the characteristics and operations of other living things. She focuses on the description of natural goodness in plant and animal life, and argues that such judgements of goodness and badness are normative and indeed evaluative. Thus, Foot shows that these norms can be explained in terms of facts about natural things, i.e. without recourse to speech acts or the expression of psychological states. Natural goodness, Foot argues, is attributable only to living things themselves and their parts, characteristics, and operations; it is an intrinsic or autonomous goodness that depends directly on the relation of an individual to the life form of its species.

Keywords: animal life; evaluative; human action; natural goodness; normativity; plant life

Chapter.  5406 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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