David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Annals of Science 45 (6):647-670 (1988)
Allan Gibbard’s book Thinking How to Live is an important sequel to his earlier and very in uential book Wise Choices, Apt Feelings. His earlier book defended a conception of morality as involving distinctive moral feelings of guilt, shame, and resentment that it is rational for someone to have and went on to defend an expressivist conception of rationality according to which judgments of rationality involve acceptance of norms for behavior and feeling. Though Gibbard offered a novel conception of the semantics and logic of normative judgment, he spent much of that book discussing the evolution, psychology, and social dynamics of normative commitment. Thinking How to Live has a narrower focus. Though Gibbard regards morality as one form of normativity or practical reason, he largely avoids discussion of morality, focusing instead on normativity or practical reason. Here too, his focus is narrower, restricted primarily to issues about the semantics, logic, and epistemology of normative judgment. The new book reinterprets the earlier notion of accepting a norm in terms of planning or commitment to a plan. One consequence of this reinterpretation is to make the expressivist character of Gibbard’s account of normative judgment clearer. He then proceeds to explain normative judgment in terms of commitment to a set of contingency plans, which allows him to defend an account of normative inference and reasoning. In fact, Gibbard argues that his expressivist conception of normative judgment allows him to defend ver-.
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