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Title page for ETD etd-03172015-181333

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Forcehimes, Andrew Thomas
Author's Email Address andrewforcehimes@gmail.com
URN etd-03172015-181333
Title Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism
Degree PhD
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert B. Talisse Committee Chair
Brad Hooker Committee Member
Jeffrey Tlumak Committee Member
Larry May Committee Member
Marilyn Friedman Committee Member
Scott F. Aikin Committee Member
  • Mark Schroeder
  • Normativity
  • Reasons
  • Naturalism
  • Derek Parfit
Date of Defense 2015-02-03
Availability unrestricted
Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on reasonhood being a relation, that reasonhood is an abstract universal. If reasonhood is an abstract universal, then we can non-question-beggingly assert that the counting in favor of relation is a general kind or genus. This poses a dilemma for non-analytic naturalists: either they need to give the same reductive analysis for epistemic and practical reasons, or they can give a different analyses by treating epistemic and practical reasons as a species of the larger genus. However, the former looks extensionally implausible – epistemic reasons are not desire-based – and the latter entails that the reduction, via a violation of irreflexivity, fails to ground reasonhood. Naturalistic reductions of the normative, accordingly, face a damning dilemma. We should, in the face of this argument, thus accept a robust form of non-naturalist realism.
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