Consensus and Excellence of Reasons

It is plausible to suppose that the normativity of evaluative (e.g., moral and epistemic) judgments arises out of and is, in some sense, dependent on our actual evaluative practice. At the same time, though, it seems likely that the correctness of evaluative judgments is not merely a matter of what the underlying practice endorses and condemns; denial of this leads one into a rather objectionable form of relativism. In this paper, I will explore a social practice account of normativity according to which normativity is grounded in our actual social practice of evaluation. I will show how this account allows normativity to be dependent on our actual evaluative practice, while allowing the correctness of evaluative judgments to be independent of this practice in important ways, and how the resulting temporal logic of reasons gives us a conception of morality and other sorts of evaluative discourse that is not historically local.
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_2003_17
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