How Principles Ground

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Specific moral facts (like the fact that you ought to send the paper by that deadline) seem to be grounded in relevant natural facts (that you promised), together with relevant moral principles (that you ought to keep your promises). This picture—according to which moral principles play a role in grounding specific moral facts—is a very natural one, and it may be especially attractive to non-naturalist, robust realists. A recent challenge from Selim Berker threatens this picture, though. Moral principles themselves seem to incorporate grounding claims, and it’s not clear that this can be reconciled with according the principles a grounding role. This chapter responds to Berker’s Challenge, utilizing a (moderate) grounding pluralism. In particular, it argues that distinguishing between normative and metaphysical grounding is the key to saving the natural picture. It also shows how such a distinction is one that you have a reason to endorse independently of this challenge, as it does important work elsewhere in moral philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Studies in Metaethics
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780198841449
StatePublished - 2019


  • Robust Realism
  • Selim Berker
  • grounding
  • grounding pluralism
  • metaethics


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