Supplement on facts, values and naturalism. David Horacek I – Fact-statements and value statements


B. Identifying Naturalistic Theories



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B. Identifying Naturalistic Theories.
The following theories are naturalistic:
Right action = Whatever is legal.

Right action = Whatever our society approves of.

Right action = Doing what the Pope says to do.
What makes these theories naturalistic is that the content on the right of the identity sign consists of only natural facts. Facts about what is legal, what is approved of and what the Pope says are perfectly natural and belong in the left column of the fact/value table. Contrast this with some non-naturalistic theories that define “right action” in terms of another evaluation:
Right action = Whatever good people do.

Right action = Giving people what they deserve.

Right action = Doing what leads to the best consequences.
We cannot establish what good people do, what people deserve, and what has the best consequences without making value judgments. Notice that “Good people do x”, “People deserve x” and “x is a good consequence” are the sorts of statements that belong in the right column in the fact/value table.




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