Two kinds of naturalism in ethics

Sinclair, Neil (2006) Two kinds of naturalism in ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 9 (4). pp. 417-439. ISSN 1386-2820

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What are the conditions on a successful naturalistic account of moral properties? In this paper I discuss one such condition: the possibility of moral concepts playing a role in good empirical theories on a par with those of the natural and social sciences. I argue that Peter Railton’s influential account of moral rightness fails to meet this condition, and thus is only viable in the hands of a naturalist who doesn’t insist on it. This conclusion generalises to all versions of naturalism that give a significant role to a dispositional characterisation of moral properties. I also argue, however, that the epistemological and semantic motivations behind naturalism are consistent with a version of naturalism that abandons the condition.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The original publication is available at
Schools/Departments:Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities > Department of Philosophy
ID Code:1599
Deposited By:Sinclair, Dr Neil
Deposited On:14 Mar 2012 13:49
Last Modified:14 Mar 2012 13:49

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