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Can program explanation confer ontological rights for the Cornell realist variety of moral realism?

Field, Andrew (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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In his Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics, Alex Miller considered a defence that might be made on behalf of the moral non-reductive naturalist in response to Gilbert Harman’s explanatory objection, a response that uses Frank Jackson’s and Philip Pettit’s account of ‘program explanation.’ However, Miller went on to argue that program explanation fails to successfully defend the moral non-reductive naturalist against Harman’s objection. Recently Paul Bloomfield and Mark Nelson have argued against Miller that program explanation does in fact successfully defend the moral non-reductive naturalist, because the only full explanation of why the relevant counterfactual, discussed in this thesis, is true requires the use of program explanation. Following Miller, I argue that the fact that counterfactuals are context sensitive undermines the argument developed by Nelson, and I also attempt to undermine Bloomfield’s recent defence of Nelson. Contrary to Bloomfield and Nelson, program explanation is not required in order to explain why the relevant counterfactual is true, so that Harman’s explanatory objection is left intact.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Miller, Alex
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
BD Speculative Philosophy
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1120
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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