Against essential normativity of the mental

Philosophical Studies 140 (2):263 - 283 (2008)
A number of authors have recently developed and defended various versions of ‘normative essentialism’ about the mental, i.e. the claim that propositional attitudes are constitutively or essentially governed by normative principles. I present two arguments to the effect that this claim cannot be right. First, if propositional attitudes were essentially normative, propositional attitude ascriptions would require non-normative justification, but since this is not a requirement of folk-psychology, propositional attitudes cannot be essentially normative. Second, if propositional attitudes were essentially normative, propositional attitude ascriptions could not support normative rationality judgments, which would remove the central appeal of normative essentialism.
Keywords Philosophy of mind  Rationality  Normativity
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Nick Zangwill (2009). Normativity and the Metaphysics of Mind. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):1–19.
Teemu Toppinen (2015). Expressivism and the Normativity of Attitudes. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):233-255.
Inga Nayding (2011). Conceptual Evidentialism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):39-65.

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