Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 1, pp 93–115 | Cite as

The sense of incredibility in ethics

  • Nicholas LaskowskiEmail author


It is often said that normative properties are “just too different” to reduce to other kinds of properties. This suggests that many philosophers find it difficult to believe reductive theses in ethics. I argue that the distinctiveness of the normative concepts we use in thinking about reductive theses offers a more promising explanation of this psychological phenomenon than the falsity of Reductive Realism. To identify the distinctiveness of normative concepts, I use resources from familiar Hybrid views of normative language and thought to develop a Hybrid view of normative concepts. In addition to using this new Hybrid view to explain why reductive theses are difficult to believe, I show how to preserve several patterns of inference involving normative concepts that, intuitively, it is possible to make, and hence answer an important recent challenge to Hybrid views from Mark Schroeder.


Normative concepts Hybridism Reductive realism Robust realism 



Thanks to Renee Jorgensen Bolinger, David Copp, Terence Cuneo, Alexander Dietz, Stephen Finlay, Joe Horton, Nathan Robert Howard, Tanya Kostochka, Wooram Lee, Janet Levin, Michael Milona, Caleb Perl, Abelard Podgorski, Mark Schroeder, Tim Schroeder, and Ralph Wedgwood for extensive feedback. Thanks also to multiple audiences at the University of Southern California and University of Duisburg-Essen for asking thoughtful questions about this paper and the bigger project of which this paper is a part. I’m grateful Philosophical Studies, too, for both processing my submission quickly and providing highly constructive referee reports. Finally, I want to thank Amanda Prunesti especially for help with the illustrations.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für PhilosophieUniversität Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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