New PDF release: New Waves in Metaethics (New Waves in Philosophy)

By Michael S. Brady

Metaethics occupies a principal position in analytical philosophy, and the final 40 years has obvious an upsurge of curiosity in questions about the character and perform of morality. This assortment offers unique and ground-breaking learn on metaethical matters from the various best possible of a brand new iteration of philosophers operating during this box.

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Sample text

18 3. Jackson’s disjunctive descriptive properties The contrived natural property Gibbard cites as constituting being what one ought to do is metaphysically very similar to the ‘possibly infinite disjunctive descriptive properties’ Frank Jackson claims to be identical to ethical properties (Jackson, 1998, p. 124). Jackson does not derive his natural properties via the idea of hyperplans, so his account is not plan-relative like Gibbard’s and he is not similarly vulnerable to objections concerning relativism.

The non-naturalist is not, then, claiming that a whole class of concepts – evaluative or normative ones – are primitively non-naturalistic. The concepts themselves admit of all sorts of mundane uses, where they attribute properties no more mysterious or non-natural than the goodness of a computer or of a spearhead, or than the ‘oughtness’ of avoiding dropping one’s computer or eating a poisonous plant. This means that there is no mystery as to how we could have come to possess such evaluative or normative concepts themselves: we came to possess them because it has always been important in countless ways to be able to evaluate things and to recommend or discourage actions, even for our distant ancestors (the point of the reference to spearheads and poisonous plants).

But this doesn’t imply that what it is to be something one ought to do is simply having property D. The identification actually implied by Gibbard’s plan-based view is instead a more complex one: what it is to be something one ought to do is to have the property of being consistent with a given plan P by having D, which an act does by being A1 in C1, or A2 in C2, or A3 in C3, and so on. ’ is simply ‘A2! (leave the building)’; but such an Ethical Non-Naturalism and Normative Properties 21 evacuation’s being what one ought to do consists not simply in its being A2 in C2 and thereby being D (by satisfying that disjunct of it), but in its thereby being consistent with plan P.

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