Title

Is Natural Normativity True Normativity?

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

4-24-2015

Graduate Advisor

Eric Wiland, Ph.D.

Committee

Berit Brogaard

John Brunero

Gualtiero Piccinini

Abstract

In this thesis, I describe two notions of normativity: John Broome’s theory of ‘true normativity’ and Philippa Foot’s theory of natural normativity. Both theories attempt to explain what determines how an individual ought to behave. Broome argues natural normativity is not true normativity. He claims natural normativity only describes the good of an organism and does not account for what a person ought to do. I argue this is a mistaken claim based on the assumption that what is evaluative and descriptive are necessarily separate. In addition, I argue Broome expresses inconsistent views. He thinks prudence is a source of true normativity. While natural normativity is not identical to prudence, it is comparable and at least entails prudence. If Broome thinks prudence is truly normative, he should not assume natural normativity, or the good of an organism, is not also truly normative.

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