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The Nature of Normativity$
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Ralph Wedgwood

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251315.001.0001

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Irreducibility and Causal Efficacy

Irreducibility and Causal Efficacy

Chapter:
(p.174) 8 Irreducibility and Causal Efficacy
Source:
The Nature of Normativity
Author(s):

Ralph Wedgwood (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251315.003.0009

This chapter argues for two corollaries of this metaphysical conception. First, normative facts, properties, and relations are irreducible and sui generis: they cannot be reduced to natural facts, properties, or relations. (The argument for this corollary relies on an argument that George Bealer has given against functionalism in the philosophy of mind.) Secondly, contrary to what many philosophers hold, they are causally efficacious, and enter into causal explanations of contingent facts about what happens in the world. This view of normative facts as causally efficacious can be defended against objections in much the same way as philosophers of mind have defended mental causation (i.e., the view that mental states are causally efficacious); it is compatible with the modest sort of naturalism that claims that all causal facts are realized in (but not necessarily identical to) natural facts.

Keywords:   George Bealer, functionalism, causal explanations, mental causation, naturalism

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