Jonathan Dancy

in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195325911
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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Ethical nonnaturalism is the claim that ethical properties, distinctions, and facts are different from any properties, distinctions, and facts that are worth calling natural. Ethical naturalism, as it is understood here, is the claim that all ethical properties (etc.) are also natural. The debate between these two camps is vitiated by the fact that there is no agreed account of what it is to be natural. This article distinguishes different varieties of ethical naturalism and the arguments in favor of them. It then turns to the arguments on the other side. The most famous argument against naturalism appeals to the notion of normativity. This article asks what normativity is and why it cannot be a natural feature or a feature of some natural thing. At the end it tries to say why there is no form of naturalism that should be adopted.

Keywords: nonnaturalism; ethical properties; naturalism; normativity; natural feature

Article.  12027 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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