The Naturalistic Moment in Normativism

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Book Chapter

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This chapter focuses on a question about one role: the explanatory role of normativism or normativity in relation to ordinary 'scientific', meaning social scientific, explanations of actions and beliefs, especially the empirical, observable, or empirically relevant aspects of human conduct. Call this the epistemic form of the naturalistic moment problem. It call this a 'naturalistic moment', a place where normativism makes factual assertions about real processes in the natural world. This pseudo argument boils down to a series of equivocations. The normativist must claim that there is some super-added normative element that cannot be accounted for naturalistically or by social science. Transcendental arguments to the effect that they have to have such and such mental content are likely to fail the mosquito test. The default position of rationalistic normativists, well encapsulated by Korsgaard, who rejects it, is that normativity in particular, rightness is an objective property grasped by reason.

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The Naturalistic Moment in Normativism, in J. H. Bakker (Ed.), Normativity and Naturalism in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Routledge, p. 9-27