Chapter

How Much Realism? Evolved Thinkers and Normative Concepts<sup>1</sup>

Allan Gibbard

in Oxford Studies in Metaethics

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606375
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729478 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606375.003.0002
How Much Realism? Evolved Thinkers and Normative Concepts1

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The Hopi studied by Richard Brandt saw no reason not to play a game that tormented a chicken. According to quasi-realism, our judgment to the contrary amounts to something like a plan to weigh the chicken's pain against playing. Sharon Street argues that quasi-realism is incoherent: it aims to mimic normative realism exactly, but if it succeeds, it must likewise fall to a Darwinian dilemma. The chapter argues that quasi-realism mimics, rather, a tempered version of realism that denies that normative judgments must meet all the epistemological requirements that pertain to paradigm facts. This tempered realism, though, still insists, incoherently, that normative facts are facts like any other and that this is basic to how they work. Quasi-realism mimics much of tempered realism, but not those features of it that depart from common sense and lead to its downfall.

Keywords: reasons; normative; epistemological; facts; quasi-realism; realism; Sharon Street; Darwinian dilemma

Chapter.  8730 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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