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Yes to Realism! No to Non-naturalism!

Keywords: realism , non-naturalism , supervenience

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According to contemporary moral realism a moral property, like goodness or badness, is either a natural (descriptive) property or a non-natural (nondescriptive) property of actions or situations. Contemporary moral naturalists like Richard Boyd, Nicholas Sturgeon, and David Brink are a group of philosophers who are often referred to as Cornell realists because of their connection with Cornell University. Frank Jackson is another contemporary moral naturalist who is one of the leaders of The Canberra Planners at the Australian National University with which he is connected. Jackson defends “the most extreme form of naturalism.” Jackson’s view is considered extremeby those who disagree with him because he believes that moral properties are reducible or identical to natural properties. This view of Jackson is opposed by contemporary non-naturalists like Jonathan Dancy, Derek Parfit, and Russ Shafer-Landau for reasons which in my view are not successful. Despite Jackson’s reductionism about the ethical, the Cornell realists, nevertheless, agree with him that moral properties are natural properties.


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