- ethical naturalism
- The attempt to place ethical properties and ethical thought in the natural world. In the form discussed and supposedly refuted by Moore, this is the view that the meaning of an ethical predicate (‘…is good’) is identical with that of a predicate displaying the features in virtue of which the object is good, e.g. ‘…is such as to create happiness’ if one operates a utilitarian standard. Moore attacks this with the open question argument . Other positions calling themselves naturalism may abandon the claim about identity of meaning, but still hold that ethical properties are identical with natural properties, rather as we hold that water is H2O, even if the two terms mean something different. Most widely, naturalism includes any belief that the nature of ethical thinking is exhaustively understood in terms of natural propensities of human beings, without mysterious intuitions, or operations of conscience, or divine help.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.