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Naturalist Realism or Non-Naturalist Realism

Both philosophical views (naturalism and non-naturalism) are distinct in such a way that they respond to opposing branches of knowledge – one is scientific and the other is nonscientific; and each provides explanation of the ethics of what makes a belief true or false. Such moral claims are specified whether the rightness and wrongness of utterances and actions are based on moral principles presided by philosophical teachings. In distinguishing between naturalist-realism and non-naturalist-realism, both are considered plausible and acceptable in expressing moral claims.

Responding to the appropriateness of philosophical view to ethical or moral properties, one has to distinguish which of the two views could make the best claim pertaining to their functions. Realism and naturalism are both branches of philosophy and both are useful in the pursuit of scientific claims; however, not both of them could explain the existence of abstract entities such as the moral claims. In this line of thought, the two philosophical views made contrasting analysis; however, both are equally plausible because each supports the notion of the morality or ethics of judgments on the basis of its content.

Naturalist Naturalists realism claim that moral properties are “posits of empirical science (Smith, p. 191)” and that there are “no moral acts;” rightness or wrongness of action is judged in accordance to the existing occurrences and processes in the natural world. Thus, it fails to disagree with anything that does not conform to the natural phenomenon. Likewise, ethical concepts are based on “naturalistic contents” seen in the natural world; and, concepts are discovered by science through observation and inference. This claim was opposed by non naturalists.

As Moore’s Open Question arguments stated, the “moral properties cannot be identical to any natural properties (Smith, p. 194);” that they are natural facts and not a result of observation and inference. However, Smith is able to refute the claim; according to him, “Open Question Argument is no a form of moral realism” and Moore’s arguments “are not really intelligible at all” (p. 194). According to naturalist-realist, rationalization involves investigation of an action or desire based on its utility. In this way, a conclusion about the rightness and wrongness of an act is on the “property of maximizing utility” (Smith, p.

197). Smith claimed, “We invoke rightness and wrongness in order to explain various empirical phenomena” (ibid). To conclude, moral claims are based on the perceived standard condition “discovered by reflection on the everyday meaning of the word right” (Smith, p. 198). Rightness is also characterized “in terms of its distinctive explanatory role” (Smith, p. 200). This explains that a person before he acts out his desire makes justifications to his actions for circumstances, which is always based on moral knowledge.

Rationalization indicates analysis of a situation before claiming it as right or wrong. Non-naturalist Non-naturalists claim that ethics is philosophical in nature and not scientific. Laufer stated, “Ethics is a species of enquiry; philosophy is its genus” (Shafer-Landau, p. 215). Moral disagreements have raised objections claiming that since it has no objective but rather a mind independent moral fact, it is considered a distorted judgment. It is totally an opposite of naturalistic-realist because it pursues that knowledge of moral truth is intuitive.

More so, other objections include stating that moral judgment is connected with motivation (Smith, p. 188; shafer-Landau, p. 213); moral properties are not clearly explained (Smith, p. 198, Shafer-Landau, p. 213); and, moral questions are hard to explain for lacking scientific support to that (Shafer-Landau, p. 213). Despite these, non-naturalists rely on what they call moral duty and obligation which is beyond scientific explanation. Besides, philosophical principles will guide ethical decision making of a person as a species belonging to the genus of philosophy.

To counteract the objections made by Smith, Shafer-Landau implied that motivation to do a moral obligation sometimes do not “entail reasons for action” (Shafer-Landau, p. 214) for the mind may have no ready explanation to such actions. In the same way, the claim regarding non-naturalists as non-objective and unexplainable is distorted by the claimant in two ways: because philosophy is of priori knowledge (knowledge is independent of experience) its arguments are persistent; and, the explananda, or the argument is the scope of actual ethical disagreement” (p. 215).

In addition, to claim right or wrong, non-naturalists argued that “ethical investigation” occurs at the beginning motivated by “the evidences of our senses” (Shafer-Landau, p. 217). In like manner, non-naturalists’ claim has a good rationale for asserting that moral arguments is philosophical in nature and the contents of the belief are not based on natural occurrence because moral properties are not subject for scrutiny. Moral properties are non-natural, which means that they do not contain natural properties.

Implication At the onset, Smith’s arguments are more convincing in such a way that he successfully refutes the claims of non-naturalism. However, both claims are beneficial in the arguments or justification whether a belief or action is right or wrong. While the views are against each other, it appears that both schools of thoughts are no better than each other. They are both important in understanding the rightness or wrongness of action and beliefs.

To justify a claim whether right or wrong, it would be more appropriate at any circumstances or situations to have some basis similar to what naturalist-realist claims; and at the same time, rely to one’s consciousness that is motivated by the moral obligation and intuition. While there are situations common to all, there are also situations that are beyond understanding. In that way, a person has to use either reason or intuition. These two philosophical branches are deemed necessary to ascertain each other’s weaknesses in such a way that establishes philosophical foundation about the ethics and morality of an action.

Though both are deemed important yet the claim of naturalist-realist should be regarded to harmonize senses with tangible objects which are close to the experiences of men. Thus, these two should be regarded equally important and equally plausible in the sense that they both have displayed unique contributions towards understanding the rightness or wrongness of actions or belief. Work Cited Shafer-Landau, Russ. “Ethics as Philosophy: A Defense of Ethical Nonnaturalism. ” Smith, Michael. Ethics and a Priori: Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta Ethics. USA: Cambridge University.

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