Reasons and the New Non‐Naturalism

Jonas Olson

in Spheres of Reason

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199572939
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722165 | DOI:

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

Reasons and the New Non‐Naturalism

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This chapter focuses on two recent trends in meta-ethics. One is the revival of non-naturalistic realism. The other is the preoccupation with reasons. The two trends are not unconnected. The renewed interest in non-naturalism seems to have gained fuel from the preoccupation with reasons. The chapter distinguishes old and new non-naturalism. Old non-naturalism places intrinsic goodness at the normative centre stage; new non-naturalism places the notion of a reason at the normative centre stage. There is a presentiment about that new non-naturalism's shift of focus from intrinsic goodness to reasons promises to make non-naturalism more credible. It is argued that this line of thinking involves an ‘extensional fallacy’. Unmasking the fallacy reveals that the notion of a reason is no less problematic than the notion of intrinsic goodness, and that the supervenience of the normative on the natural is no less problematic for new non-naturalism than for old non-naturalism.

Keywords: extensional fallacy; intrinsic goodness; non-naturalism; reasons; supervenience

Chapter.  9049 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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