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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 59, Issue 1, March 2019

Jessy Jordan
Pages 23-36

Natural Normativity and the Authority-of-Nature Challenge

Proponents of natural normativity maintain that the moral evaluation of human beings shares a certain common conceptual pattern with the evaluation of other living things. The adequacy of this analogy has been challenged, with opponents arguing that because humans are rational, there is a gap between what is natural and what is normative for humans. Rational creatures, the argument goes, are importantly different from non-rational living things in that reason includes the ability to step back from what is natural and ask whether it is good that our nature is constituted as it is. Micah Lott has attempted a response to this challenge. After evaluating his proposal, I offer a reply that attempts to resolve an important dilemma, namely, that the naturalist either lacks a satisfying response to the authority-of-nature challenge or is forced to abandon naturalism.

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