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Colloquium: Gideon Rosen (Princeton University)

Title: ‘A Map of Metaethics’

Mar 10, 2017
from 03:10 PM to 06:00 PM

Title: ‘A Map of Metaethics’.   


Metaethics aims to characterize the relation between the ethical facts — or the normative facts more generally — and the ‘natural’ facts.  The paper provides explicit statements of a range of possible answers to this question, all cast in the language of hyperintensional metaphysics (ground and essence).   The thesis is that metaethics needs this hyperintensional metaphysics.  If we reject this idiom, then there really are only two possible positions in realist metaethics:  ethical naturalism, the thesis that the normative supervenes on the natural, and ethical non-naturalism: the thesis that the normative does not supervene on the natural.  If we accept the hyperintensional idiom, a rich landscape of possibilities opens up: reductive naturalism contrasts with two species of non-reductive naturalism, all of which contrast in turn with several varieties of non-naturalism.  The apparatus does not tell us how to choose among these options; but it does tell us what the options are and that’s a start. 

Filed under: PHI-colloquia