Incorrigible Norms: Foundationalist Theories of Normative Authority

Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):633-649 (2000)
Abstract
What makes a norm a genuinely authoritative guide to action? For many theorists, the answer takes a foundationalist form, analogous to foundationalism in epistemology. They say that there is at least one norm that is justified in itself. On most versions, the norm is said to be incorrigibly authoritative. All other norms are justified in virtue of their connection with it. This essay argues that all such foundationalist theories of normative authority fail because they cannot give an account of the privileged status of an allegedly foundational norm.
Keywords normativity  justification  authority  foundationalism
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