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NATURALISM WITHOUT TEARS

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Abstract

Parfit argues that naturalistic theories that seek to understand normative concepts either as simply descriptive of certain natural facts about our desires or as expressive of our desires commit us to a bleak normative nihilism whereby nothing matters. I here defend such naturalism, in particular its expressivist variety, against this charge. It is true that such views commit us to there being no reasons as Parfit understands them. But for Parfit to suppose that equivalent to there being no reasons leaves him begging the question where the relative credibility of these rival understandings is just what is at issue.1

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