The Naturalism of Neo-Aristotelian Normative Naturalism
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CitationCaride, Javier. 2021. The Naturalism of Neo-Aristotelian Normative Naturalism. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractWhile “naturalism” is said in many ways within normative theory, I argue that the most relevant sense of the term for such theories is an epistemological one: a truth is a natural truth if it can be accessed through ordinary epistemic means, and a normative theory is a naturalist theory if it holds that normative truths (including moral truths) are natural truths in this sense.
I argue that, given this account of naturalism, neo-Aristotelian naturalism provides a genuinely naturalistic account of moral truths (or, at least, provides a model by which we might create one). On this view, we can evaluate a particular organism as naturally good (or bad) in respect to and to the extent that the particular features and capacities of that particular organism line up with the characteristic functioning of organisms of that type. Moreover, moral goodness truths are truths about the natural goodness of human beings in respect to a particular human capacity: human practical rationality. Moral goodness truths are thus natural truths; they can be inferred from ordinarily accessible truths about particular organisms (a human) and a kind of organism (humanity).
I develop the neo-Aristotelian naturalist’s epistemological and metaethical framework in order to show how it is that truths about particular organisms and organism kinds are ordinarily accessible, as well as to show how we can plausibly infer natural goodness truths from those truths. I then provide reasons for thinking that moral goodness truths can be understood as human natural goodness truths. In particular, I argue that human natural goodness truths are necessarily normatively authoritative in the way we expect moral goodness truths to be.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368179
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