Volume 1, 2007
Andrew B. Schoedinger
Nonreductive Ethical Naturalism
This paper argues that Nonreductive ethical naturalism is a viable approach to normative ethical theory. Central to Nonreductive ethical naturalism is the identification of moral properties with natural ones. Natural properties are objective and pertain to facts. It follows that moral properties are factual in nature. In the proposed theory pain and harm are the natural properties that are also moral in nature. Pain and harm are not identical. Pain is the chief indicator of harm. The concept of harm entails injury. Injury to an individual is both a factual and moral issue. The well-being of individuals constitutes the foundation of morality. Consequently, that which runs counter to an individual's well-being is what we mean by evil. It follows that injury is evil and its intentional infliction upon other people is morally evil. The factual nature of ethical properties provides the basis for universal agreement on which forms of behavior are evil. As such, acceptance of this theory would go a long way in resolving many of the global problems that confront us all at the onset of the 2 1 s t century.