A coherentist theory of normative authority

Journal of Ethics 6 (1):21-42 (2002)
What makes an ``ought'''' claim authoritative? What makes aparticular norm genuinely reason-giving for an agent? This paper arguesthat normative authority can best be accounted for in terms of thejustification of norms. The main obstacle to such a theory, however, isa regress problem. The worry is that every attempt to offer ajustification for an ``ought'''' claim must appeal to another ``ought''''claim, ad infinitum. The paper argues that vicious regress canbe avoided in practical reasoning in the same way coherentists avoid theproblem in epistemology. Norms are justified by their coherence withother norms.
Keywords authority  coherentism  justification  normativity  norms
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DOI 10.1023/A:1015887107235
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