En este articulo se examina la tradicional caracterización de la filosofía de la ciencia como una disciplina normativa. Se discuten varias concepciones de esta disciplina, cada una de las cuales ofrece una respuesta diferente a la pregunta de si es posible, y cómo, una filosofía de la ciencia genuinamente normativa. De entre esas concepciones, se opta por una forma de naturalismo que se diferencia de otras en la exigeneia de que la normatividad de la filosofía de la ciencia inc!uya la (...) discusión de los objetivos y valores, epistémicos o no, de la ciencia. La necesidad de esta inc!usión se ilustra, finalmente, con el ejemplo de la aetividad conocida como “cicncia reguladora”.This article examines the traditional characterization of the philosophy of science as a normative discipline. Several understandings of this discipline are discussed; each of them offering a different answer to the question whether, and how, a genuinely normative philosophy of science might be possible. Among these views, I choose one variety of naturalism that differs from others in its commitment with the discussion of science’s aims and values, either epistemic or non-epistemic. Finally, the need for this inclusion is illustrated with the example of the so-called “regulatory science”. (shrink)
This paper attempts to show that context is normative. Perceiving and acting, speaking and understanding, reasoning and evaluating, judging and deciding, doing and not doing, as accomplished by humans, invariably occur within a context. The context dictates, or at least constrains, the proper accomplishment of the act. One may construe this undisputed fact in a naturalistic way: one can think of the context as a positive given, and of the constraints it creates as constituting a natural fact. Whether the act (...) is carried out in conformity with these constraints is then a mere matter of correct functioning of the cognitive system. However, I argue, this is not the only, nor the more plausible way of considering the matter. The context is not a determinate function of situation and task, nor is the outcome of a task a determinate function of a given context: context choice and contextual constraints are irreducibly normative. The norm they obey is sui generis, and goes under the (disreputable) name of intelligence. (shrink)
This paper develops under-recognized connections between moderate historicist methodology and character (or virtue) epistemology, and goes on to argue that their combination supports a “dialectical” conception of objectivity. Considerations stemming from underdetermination problems motivate our claim that historicism requires agent-focused rather than merely belief-focused epistemology; embracing this point helps historicists avoid the charge of relativism. Considerations stemming from the genealogy of epistemic virtue concepts motivate our claim that character epistemologies are strengthened by moderate historicism about the epistemic virtues and values (...) at work in communities of inquiry; embracing this point helps character epistemologists avoid the charge of objectivism. (shrink)
This article discusses the historical background to the concept of normativity which has a wide use in contemporary philosophy. It locates the origin of that concept in the Southwestern Neo-Kantian school, the writings of Windelband, Rickert and Lask. The Southwestern school made the concept of normativity central to epistemology, ethics and the interpretation of German idealism. It was their solution to the threats of psycologism and historicism. However, Windelband, Rickert and Lask found difficulties with the concept which eventually forced them (...) to abandon it. These difficulties might be of interest to contemporary philosophers who find the concept of normativity appealing. (shrink)
In this paper I want to present the guiding lines of a research programme into the economics of scientific knowledge, a programme whose ultimate goal is to develop what I would like to call a contractarian epistemology. The structure of the paper is as follows: in the first section I will comment on two conflicting approaches to the topic of rationality in science: the view of the rationality of scientific knowledge as deriving from the employment of sound methodological norms, and (...) the view of scientists as rational agents pursuing the optimisation of their own personal and professional interests. In section 2 I will try to make both approaches mutually consistent by showing that a competition among rational "recognition-seekers" is only possible if they agree in accepting some system of methodological norms. Section 3 will be devoted to analyse the main kinds and properties of these norms. Finally, in section 4 I will discuss a question which is far from being easy and innocent: why are scientific norms obeyed by researchers, once they have been established in a scientific discipline? (shrink)
Norms are a pervasive yet mysterious feature of social life. In Explaining Norms, four philosophers and social scientists team up to grapple with some of the many mysteries, offering a comprehensive account of norms: what they are; how and why they emerge, persist and change; and how and to what extent they themselves serve to explain what we do. Norms, they argue, should be understood in non-reductive terms as clusters of normative attitudes that serve the function of making us accountable (...) to one another - with the different kinds of norms (legal, moral, and social norms) differing in virtue of being constituted by different kinds of normative attitudes that serve to make us accountable in different ways. The best explanations of and by norms are thoroughly pluralist in character. Explanations of norms should appeal to the ways that norms help us to pursue projects and goals, individually and collectively, as well as to enable us to constitute social meanings. Explanations by norms should recognise the multiplicity of ways in which we may be responsive to norms in the actions we perform, the attitudes we form, and the modes of deliberation in which we engage: following, merely conforming with, and even breaching norms. While advancing novel and distinctive positions on all of these topics, Explaining Norms will also serve as a sourcebook with a rich array of arguments and illustrations for others to reassemble in ways of their own choosing. (shrink)
This paper is the introduction to the volume. It gives an argumentative view of the philosophical landscape concerning incommensurability and incomparability. It argues that incomparability, not incommensurability, is the important phenomenon on which philosophers should be focusing and that the arguments for the existence of incomparability are so far not compelling.
: The relationship between facts and values—in particular, naturalism and normativity—poses an ongoing challenge for feminist science studies. Some have argued that the fact/value holism of W.V. Quine's naturalized epistemology holds promise. I argue that Quinean epistemology, while appropriately naturalized, might weaken the normative force of feminist claims. I then show that Quinean epistemic themes are unnecessary for feminist science studies. The empirical nature of our work provides us with all the naturalized normativity we need.
Following Marc Richir and others, László Tengelyi has recently developed the idea of Sinnereignis (meaning-event) as a way of capturing the emergence of meaning that does not flow from some prior project or constitutive act. As such, it might seem to pose something of a challenge to phenomenology: the paradox of an experience that is mine without being my accomplishment. This article offers a different sort of interpretation of meaning-events, claiming that in their structure they always involve what the late (...) Heidegger called “measure-taking” (Maß-nehmen)—that is, an orientation toward the emergence of normative moments thanks to which what apparently eludes phenomenology becomes accessible in its inaccessibility. This is shown, first, on the example of conscience in Sein und Zeit and then on the example of the poetic image (Bild) in Heidegger’s later essays. (shrink)
Recent advances in biotechnologies have led to speculations about enhancing human beings. Many of the moral arguments presented to defend human enhancement technologies have been limited to discussions of their risks and benefits. The author argues that in so far as ethical arguments focus primarily on risks and benefits of human enhancement technologies, these arguments will be insufficient to provide a robust defence of these technologies. This is so because the belief that an assessment of risks and benefits is a (...) sufficient ethical evaluation of these technologies incorrectly presupposes that risk assessments do not involve value judgements. Second, it presupposes a reductionist conception of ethics as merely a risk management instrument. Each of these assumptions separates ethical evaluation from discussion and appraisal of ends and means and thus leaves important—indeed, essential—ethical considerations out of view. Once these problematic assumptions are rejected, it becomes clear that an adequate defence of human enhancement technologies requires more than a simple balance of their risks and benefits. (shrink)
In this introductory paper, I try to give an overview of the concept of normativity in its philosophical history and its contemporary interpretations and uses in different fields. From philosophy of logic and mathematics to philosophy of language and mind, and to philosophy of medicine and care, normativity is found as a key concept pointing at the possibility of scientific and technical progress and improvement of human life in the interaction between the individual and his environment.
This book is a briefer and updated account of the Middle Way Philosophy developed in 'A Theory of Moral Objectivity'. Its starting point is the argument that we are not justified in making any claims about truth, whether moral or scientific, but the idea of truth is still meaningful. Instead of making or denying metaphysical claims about truth, we need to think in terms of incrementally objective justification within experience. This standpoint is related to an account of objectivity as psychological (...) integration, and applied to questions of resposibility, ethics, science, religion and politics. (shrink)
Metaethical—or, more generally, metanormative—realism faces a serious epistemological challenge. Realists owe us—very roughly speaking—an account of how it is that we can have epistemic access to the normative truths about which they are realists. This much is, it seems, uncontroversial among metaethicists, myself included. But this is as far as the agreement goes, for it is not clear—nor uncontroversial—how best to understand the challenge, what the best realist way of coping with it is, and how successful this attempt is. In (...) this paper I try, first, to present the challenge in its strongest version, and second, to show how realists—indeed, robust realists—can cope with it. The strongest version of the challenge is, I argue, that of explaining the correlation between our normative beliefs and the independent normative truths. And I suggest an evolutionary explanation (of a preestablished harmony kind) as a way of solving it. (shrink)
In this essay, I defend a view I call “Robust Realism” about normativity. According to this view, there are irreducibly, perfectly objective, normative truths, that when successful in our normative inquiries we discover rather than create or construct. My argument in support of Robust Realism is modeled after arguments from explanatory indispensability common in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mathematics. I argue that irreducibly normative truths, though not explanatorily indispensable, are nevertheless deliberatively indispensable, and that this kind (...) of indispensability is just as respectable as the more familiar explanatory kind. Deliberative indispensability, I argue, justifies belief in normative facts, just like the explanatory indispensability of, say, theoretical entities like electrons justifies belief in electrons. In the introduction I characterize the view I will be arguing for and sketch the main argument of this essay. In chapter 1 I draw the analogy between explanatory and deliberative indispensability, and argue that there is no non-question-begging reason to take the former but not the latter seriously. Here I also present the master-argument of the thesis, and clarify the argumentative work that needs to be done by each of the following chapters. In chapter 2 I address the worries of the antirealist who is willing to reject arguments from explanatory indispensability as well. In other words, in this chapter I try to justify the move from indispensability (of whatever kind) to belief. In chapter 3 I develop an account of deliberation that supports the premises about deliberation needed for my master-argument to go through. In chapter 4 I reject some alternative views, showing that none of them can allow for sincere deliberation. In this chapter, in other words, I support the indispensability premise: I argue that it really is impossible to deliberate sincerely without believing in irreducibly normative truths.. (shrink)
The paper outlines a view of normativity that combines elements of relativism and expressivism, and applies it to normative concepts in epistemology. The result is a kind of epistemological anti-realism, which denies that epistemic norms can be (in any straightforward sense) correct or incorrect; it does allow some to be better than others, but takes this to be goal-relative and is skeptical of the existence of best norms. It discusses the circularity that arises from the fact that we need to (...) use epistemic norms to gather the facts with which to evaluate epistemic norms; relatedly, it discusses how epistemic norms can rationally evolve. It concludes with some discussion of the impact of this view on "ground level" epistemology. (shrink)
Does a coherentist version of rationality issue requirements on states? Or does it issue requirements on processes? This paper evalu- ates the possibility of process-requirements. It argues that there are two possible definitions of state- and process-requirements: a satisfaction- based definition and a content-based definition. I demonstrate that the satisfaction-based definition is inappropriate. It does not allow us to uphold a clear-cut distinction between state- and process-requirements. We should therefore use a content-based definition of state- and pro- cess-requirements. However, a (...) content-based definition entails that ra- tionality does not issue process-requirements. Content-based process- requirements violate the principle that ‘rationality requires’ implies ‘can satisfy’. The conclusion of this paper therefore amounts to a radical re- jection of process-requirements of rationality. (shrink)
Early normative studies of human behavior revealed a gap between the norms of practical rationality (what humans ought to do) and the actual human behavior (what they do). It has been suggested that, to close the gap between the descriptive and the normative, one has to revise norms of practical rationality according to the Quinean, engineering view of normativity. On this view, the norms must be designed such that they effectively account for behavior. I review recent studies of human perception (...) which pursued normative modeling and which found good agreement between the normative prescriptions and the actual behavior. I make the case that the goals and methods of this work have been incompatible with those of the engineering approach. I argue that norms of perception and action are observer-independent properties of biological agents; the norms are discovered using methods of natural sciences rather than the norms are designed to fit the observed behavior. (shrink)