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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: January 2012

Chapter 8 - Supervenience and the nature of normativity

Summary

Non-naturalism in metanormative theory maintains that normative predicates refer to normative properties, normative properties are utterly irreducible to any of the properties of the natural sciences, and that these properties are at least sometimes instantiated in the actual world. The idea of non-natural normative properties can reasonably seem, as J. L. Mackie famously remarked, "queer". Before elaborating on the queerness of this combination of views, though, it is useful to characterize the relevant supervenience thesis. This chapter deals with an account of the semantics Ralph Wedgwood offers for normative predicates, so as to put his metaphysical views into their proper context. Wedgwood's proposed explanation of Strong Supervenience (SS) is itself problematic, in that it invokes essentialist claims which are just essentialist variants on SS and which stand just as much in need of explanation as SS itself.