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Title: Naturalism and the problem of normativity
Author: Turp, Michael-John David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 9139
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation explores the way in which normative facts create a problem for naturalist approaches to philosophy. How can lumpy scientific matter give rise to technicolour normativity? How can normative facts show up in the world described from a scientific perspective? In this context, I start by analysing Hume’s discussion of ’is’ and ‘ought’, Moore’s open question argument, and Kripke’s interpretation of Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations. I then look at the nature of philosophical naturalism in detail, arguing that is fundamentally an epistemological commitment to the norms governing scientific publications. I consider the particular examples of Penelope Maddy’s approach to naturalising logic and the instrumentalist accounts of epistemic normativity favoured by advocates of naturalised epistemology. I argue, however, that these approaches to naturalising normativity are unsuccessful. In the second half of the dissertation, I develop a novel account of the nature of normative facts and explain how this relates to and resolves some of the difficulties raised in the first half. The account I defend has Kantian foundations and an Aristotelian superstructure. I associate the right with the necessary preconditions for engaging in valuable activity and the good with the satisfaction of the constitutive ends of activities and practices. I explain how my theory can account for epistemic normativity and defend a virtue-based theory of epistemic evaluation. Finally, I argue against desire-based accounts of reasons and in favour of a role for the emotions in normative cognition. The view I defend is intended to be compatible with our best scientific theories. However, it is not naturalistic insofar as it is justified by distinctively philosophical methods and relies on extra-scientific considerations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available