The paper pores over the recent conceptions of normative judgement developed against the background of advances in psychology and neuroscience. It begins by analyzing what normative claim of morality and law consists of before presenting and criticizing the Social Intuitionist Model of normative judgement developed by Jonathan Haidt. The model poses serious challenges for well-established normative concepts, and the concept of normativity as objective reason for action in particular. A question is asked of what the relationship between philosophical conceptions (...) and the findings of neuroscience should be. The conclusion is that, in the face of new scientific facts, philosophers have no choice but to carefully revise their conceptual schemes. (shrink)
I argue that the "why be rational?" challenge raised by John Broome and Niko Kolodny rests upon a mistake that is analogous to the mistake that H.A. Pritchard famously claimed beset the “why be moral?” challenge. The failure to locate an independent justification for obeying rational requirements should do nothing whatsoever to undermine our belief in the normativity of rationality. I suggest that we should conceive of the demand for a satisfactory vindicating explanation of the normativity of rationality (...) instead in terms of the demand for a philosophical characterisation of rationality that can do something to explain why rational requirements are the kinds of things that are, by their very nature, normative. I consider several accounts that have recently been offered – the distinctive-object account, the proper functioning account, and the subjective reasons account – and argue that none succeeds in meeting this challenge. I then sketch a new account, the “first-personal authority account”, which holds that rational requirements are what I call “standpoint-relative demands” concerning the attitudes we ought to have and form; and that complying with rational requirements is a matter of honouring our first-personal authority as agents. I suggest that the first-personal authority account does a better job of meeting the challenge. (shrink)
Situationists argue that virtue ethics is empirically untenable, since traditional virtue ethicists postulate broad, efficacious character traits, and social psychology suggests that such traits do not exist. I argue that prominent philosophical replies to this challenge do not succeed. But cross-cultural research gives reason to postulate character traits, and this undermines the situationist critique. There is, however, another empirical challenge to virtue ethics that is harder to escape. Character traits are culturally informed, as are our ideals of what traits are (...) virtuous, and our ideals of what qualifies as well-being. If virtues and well-being are culturally constructed ideals, then the standard strategy for grounding the normativity of virtue ethics in human nature is undermined. (shrink)
One of the most enduring elements of Davidson’s legacy is the idea that intentionality is inherently normative. The normativity of intentionality means different things to different people and in different contexts, however. A subsidiary goal of this paper is to get clear on the sense in which Davidson means the thesis that intentionality is inherently normative. The central goal of the paper is to consider whether the thesis is true, in light of recent work on intentionality that insists on (...) an intimate connection between intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. According to several recent authors, there is a kind of intentionality – “phenomenal intentionality” – that is fully constituted by the phenomenal character of conscious experiences. I will argue that although Davidson’s thesis, when correctly understood, is compelling for most intentionality, it is false of phenomenal intentionality. I start, in §1, with an explication of the notion of phenomenal intentionality; in §2, I elucidate Davidson’s thesis and his case for it; in §3, I argue that the case does not extend to phenomenal intentionality; I close, in §4, with some objections and replies. (shrink)
In virtue of what does a consideration provide a practical reason? Suppose the fact that an experience is painful provides you with a reason to avoid it. In virtue of what does the fact that it’s painful have the normativity of a reason – where, in other words, does its normativity come from? As some philosophers put the question, what is the source of a reason’s normativity?
In virtue of what is something a reason for action? That is, what makes a consideration a reason to act? This is a metaphysical or meta-normative question about the grounding of reasons for action. The answer to the grounding question has been traditionally given in ‘pure’, univocal terms. This paper argues that there is good reason to understand the ground of practical normativity as a hybrid of traditional ‘pure’ views. The paper 1) surveys the three leading ‘pure’ answers to (...) the question of a normative ground, 2) examines one or two of the most difficult problems for each, proposing along the way a new objection to one, and 3) argues that a particular hybrid view about normative grounds –‘hybrid voluntarism’ – avoids each of the main problems faced by the three leading ‘pure’ views. (shrink)
In his discussion of normative concepts in the first part of On What Matters ( 2011 , On What Matters , vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press), Parfit holds that apart from the ‘ought’ of decisive reason, there are other senses of ‘ought’ which do not imply any reasons. This claim poses a dilemma for his ‘reason-involving conception’ of normativity: either Parfit has to conclude that non-reason-implying ‘oughts’ are not normative. Or else he is forced to accept that (...)normativity needs only to involve ‘apparent reasons’ – a certain kind of hypothetical truths about reasons. I argue that both of these options are inacceptable. In the course of the discussion, I present a general objection to ‘apparent reason accounts’ of the normativity of rationality as advocated not only by Parfit, but also by Schroeder (2009) and Way (2009). (shrink)
For Kant, the form of a subject's experience of an object provides the normative basis for an aesthetic judgement about it. In other words, if the subject's experience of an object has certain structural properties, then Kant thinks she can legitimately judge that the object is beautiful - and that it is beautiful for everyone. My goal in this paper is to provide a new account of how this 'subjective universalism' is supposed to work. In doing so, I appeal to (...) Kant's notions of an aesthetic idea and an aesthetic attribute, and the connection that Kant makes between an object's expression of rational and the normativity of aesthetic judgements about it. -/- . (shrink)
The overwhelmingly dominant view of epistemic normativity has been an extreme form of deontology. I argue that although the pull towards deontology is quite understandable, given the traditional concerns of epistemology, there is no good reason for not also adopting a complementary consequentialist notion of epistemic normativity, which can be put to use in applied epistemology. I further argue that this consequentialist notion is not, despite appearances and popular sentiment to the contrary, any less genuinely epistemic (...) than the deontological notion and that it may even be considered more genuinely normative. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that the normativity of conceptual judgement poses problems for naturalism. Thus John McDowell urges that 'The structure of the space of reasons stubbornly resists being appropriated within a naturalism that conceives nature as the realm of law' (1994, p 73). Similar sentiments have been expressed by many other writers, for example Robert Brandom (1994, p xiii) and Paul Boghossian (1989, p 548).
Ethical concepts are, or purport to be, normative. They make claims on us: they command, oblige, recommend, or guide. Or at least when we invoke them, we make claims on one another; but where does their authority over us - or ours over one another - come from? Christine Korsgaard identifies four accounts of the source of normativity that have been advocated by modern moral philosophers: voluntarism, realism, reflective endorsement, and the appeal to autonomy. She traces their history, showing (...) how each developed in response to the prior one and comparing their early versions with those on the contemporary philosophical scene. Kant's theory that normativity springs from our own autonomy emerges as a synthesis of the other three, and Korsgaard concludes with her own version of the Kantian account. Her discussion is followed by commentary from G. A. Cohen, Raymond Geuss, Thomas Nagel, and Bernard Williams, and a reply by Korsgaard. (shrink)
In “Vindicating the Normativity of Rationality,” Nicholas Southwood proposes that rational requirements are best understood as demands of one’s “first-personal standpoint.” Southwood argues that this view can “explain the normativity or reason-giving force” of rationality by showing that they “are the kinds of thing that are, by their very nature, normative.” We argue that the proposal fails on three counts: First, we explain why demands of one’s first-personal standpoint cannot be both reason-giving and resemble requirements of rationality. Second, (...) the proposal runs headlong into the now familiar “bootstrapping” objection that helped illuminate the need to vindicate the normativity of rationality in the first place. Lastly, even if Southwood is right—the demands of rationality just are the demands or our first-personal standpoints—the explanation as to why our standpoints generate reasons will entail that we sometimes have no reason at all to be rational. (shrink)
This is a book about normativity -- where the central normative terms are words like 'ought' and 'should' and their equivalents in other languages. It has three parts: The first part is about the semantics of normative discourse: what it means to talk about what ought to be the case. The second part is about the metaphysics of normative properties and relations: what is the nature of those properties and relations (if any) whose pattern of instantiation makes propositions about (...) what ought to be the case true. The third part is about the epistemology of normative beliefs: how we could ever know, or even have rational or justified belief in, propositions about what ought to be the case. (shrink)
The critical focus of this paper is on a claim made explicitly by Gilbert Harman and accepted implicitly by numerous others, the claim that naturalism supports concurrent defense of scientific objectivism and moral relativism. I challenge the assumptions of Harman's ‘argument from naturalism' used to support this combination of positions, utilizing. Hilary Putnam’s ‘companions in guilt’ argument in order to counter it. The paper concludes that while domain-specific anti-realism is often warranted, Harman’s own views about the objectivity of facts and (...) the subjectivity of values are better seen as stemming from scientistic ideals of knowledge than from dictates of naturalism. Scientists qua scientists make value judgments, and setting aside scientistic assumptions and unrealizable conceptions of scientific objectivity should lead us to more symmetrical metaphilosophical conception of epistemic and ethical normativity than that which underlies Harman's account. (shrink)
In "Assertion," Geach identified failure to attend to the distinction between meaning and speech act as a source of philosophical errors. I argue that failure to attend to this distinction, along with the parallel distinction between attitude and content, has been behind the idea that meaning and content are, in some sense, normative. By an argument parallel to Geach's argument against performative analyses of "good" we can show that the phenomena identified by theorists of the normativity of content are (...) properties in the first instance of speech act and propositional attitude types, rather than content as such. (shrink)
Moral obligation is a demand of reason—a demanding kind of rational justification. How to understand this rational demand? Much recent philosophy, as in the work of Scanlon, takes obligatoriness to be a reason-giving feature of an action. But the paper argues that moral obligatoriness should instead be understood as a mode of justificatory support—as a distinctive justificatory force of demand. The paper argues that this second model of obligation, the Force model, was central to the natural law tradition in ethics, (...) is truer to everyday intuition about obligation, and also changes our understanding of the problem of moral rationality. A new account is given of why it might be irrational to breach moral obligations. The Force model also sheds new light on moral responsibility, our responsibility for meeting moral obligations. Moral obligation is a standard of reason; but moral responsibility is shown to involve far more than ordinary rational appraisability, precisely because moral obligation involves a distinctive justificatory force of demand—one which specifically governs how we act. Key Words: blame • moral responsibility • natural law • normativity • obligation • reason. (shrink)
The concept of action is playing an increasingly prominent role in attempts to explain how subjects can represent the world. The idea is that at least some of the role traditionally assigned to internal representations can, in fact, be played by the ability of subjects to act on the world, and the exercise of that ability on appropriate occasions. This paper argues that the appeal to action faces a serious dilemma. If the concept of action employed is a representational one, (...) then the appeal to action is circular: representation has been presupposed rather than explained. However, if the concept of action employed is a non-representational one, then the appeal to action will be inadequate: in particular, the appeal will fail to account for the normativity of representation. The way out of this dilemma is to develop a conception of action that is normative, but where this normativity is not inherited from the action's connection to distinct representational states. The normative status of such actions would be sui generis. This paper argues that such a conception of action is available. (shrink)
Within cognitive science, mental processing is often construed as computation over mental representations—i.e., as the manipulation and transformation of mental representations in accordance with rules of the kind expressible in the form of a computer program. This foundational approach has encountered a long-standing, persistently recalcitrant, problem often called the frame problem; it is sometimes called the relevance problem. In this paper we describe the frame problem and certain of its apparent morals concerning human cognition, and we argue that these morals (...) have significant import regarding both the nature of moral normativity and the human capacity for mastering moral normativity. The morals of the frame problem bode well, we argue, for the claim that moral normativity is not fully systematizable by exceptionless general principles, and for the correlative claim that such systematizability is not required in order for humans to master moral normativity. (shrink)
Normativity and the Will collects fourteen important papers on moral psychology and practical reason by R. Jay Wallace, one of the leading philosophers currently working in these areas. The papers explore the interpenetration of normative and psychological issues in a series of debates that lie at the heart of moral philosophy. Themes that are addressed include reason, desire, and the will; responsibility, identification, and emotion; and the relation between morality and other normative domains. Wallace's treatments of these topics are (...) at once sophisticated and engaging. Taken together, they constitute an advertisement for a distinctive way of pursuing issues in moral psychology and the theory of practical reason, and they articulate and defend a unified framework for thinking about those issues. The volume also features a helpful new introduction. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Paul Coates defends a sophisticated dispositional account which allegedly resolves the sceptical paradox developed by Kripke in his monograph on Wittgenstein's treatment of following a rule (Kripke, 1982). Coates' account appeals to a notion of 'homeostasis', unpacked as a subject's second-order disposition to maintain a consistent pattern of extended first-order dispositions regarding her linguistic behavior. This kind of account, Coates contends, provides a naturalistic model for the normativity of intentional properties and thus resolves Kripke's sceptical (...) paradox. In this paper I argue that Coates' second-order dispositional account cannot solve the sceptic's problems regarding meaning and normativity. My main contention is that in order for second-order dispositions to be able to effectively regulate the coordinated responses constitutive of first-order dispositions, those first order dispositions must be independently identifiable. Yet that's precisely what Kripke's sceptical argument calls into question. I shall also argue, in a more positive fashion, that Coates' own appeal to practical breakdowns may suggest a different —and more effective— response to the sceptic's concern. (shrink)
There may be various reasons for claiming that meaning is normative, and additionally, very different senses attached to the claim. However, all such claims have faced fierce resistance from those philosophers who insist that meaning is not normative in any nontrivial sense of the word. In this paper I sketch one particular approach to meaning claiming its normativity and defend it against the anti-normativist critique: namely the approach of Brandomian inferentialism. However, my defense is not restricted to inferentialism in (...) any narrow sense for it encompasses a much broader spectrum of approaches to meaning, connected with the Wittgensteinian and especially Sellarsian view of language as an essentially rule-governed enterprise; and indeed I refrain from claiming that the version of inferentialism I present here is in every detail the version developed by Brandom. (shrink)
Alan Millar examines our understanding of why people think and act as they do. His key theme is that normative considerations form an indispensable part of the explanatory framework in terms of which we seek to understand each other. Millar defends a conception according to which normativity is linked to reasons. On this basis he examines the structure of certain normative commitments incurred by having propositional attitudes. Controversially, he argues that ascriptions of beliefs and intentions in and of themselves (...) attribute normative commitments and that this has implications for the psychology of believing and intending. Indeed, all propositional attitudes of the sort we ascribe to people have a normative dimension, since possessing the concepts that the attitudes implicate is of its very nature commitment-incurring. The ramifications of these views for our understanding of people is explored. Millar offers illuminating discussions of reasons for belief and reasons for action; the explanation of beliefs and actions in terms of the subject's reasons; the idea that simulation has a key role in understanding people; and the limits of explanation in terms of propositional attitudes. He compares and contrasts the commitments incurred by propositional attitudes with those incurred by participating in practices, arguing that the former should not be assimilated to the latter. Understanding People will be of great interest to most philosophers of mind, as well as to those working on practical and theoretical reasoning. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Part I. Epistemic Normativity: 1. Knowledge as success from ability; 2. Against deontology; 3. Against internalism; 4. Against evidentialism; Part II. Problems for Everyone: 5. The nature of knowledge; 6. The value of knowledge; 7. Knowledge and context; 8. The Pyrrhonian problematic; Part III. Problems for Reliabilism: 9. The problem of strange and fleeting processes; 10. The problem of defeating evidence; 11. The problem of easy knowledge; Bibliography; Index.
In this paper, it is argued that there are (at least) two different kinds of ‘epistemic normativity’ in epistemology, which can be scrutinized and revealed by some comparison with some naturalistic studies of ethics. The first kind of epistemic normativity can be naturalized, but the other not. The doctrines of Quine’s naturalized epistemology is firstly introduced; then Kim’s critique of Quine’s proposal is examined. It is argued that Quine’s naturalized epistemology is able to save some room for the (...) concept of epistemic normativity and therefore his doctrine can be protected against Kim’s critique. But, it is the first kind of epistemic normativity that can be naturalized in epistemology. With the assistance of Goldman’s fake barn case, it is shown that the concept of epistemic normativity that is involved in the concept of knowing, which cannot be fully naturalized. The Gettier problem indicates that Quine only gets partially right idea concerning whether epistemology can (and should) be natualized. (shrink)
This introduction to a collection of papers on normativity provides a framework modelled on the division in ethics to approach normative issues. It suggests that is is useful to divide questions about normativity into five groups: normative ontology, normative semantics, normative epistemology, normative psychology, and substantial normative theory.
I evaluate two new objections to an infinitist account of epistemic justification, and conclude that they fail to raise any new problems for infinitism. The new objections are a refined version of the finite-mind objection, which says infinitism demands more than finite minds can muster, and the normativity objection, which says infinitism entails that we are epistemically blameless in holding all our beliefs. I show how resources deployed in response to the most popular objection to infinitism, the original finite-mind (...) objection, can be redeployed to address the two new objections. (shrink)
There has been much debate over whether to accept the claim that meaning is normative. One obstacle to making progress in that debate is that it is not always clear what the claim amounts to. In this paper, I try to resolve a dispute between those who advance the claim concerning how it should be understood. More specifically, I critically examine two competing conceptions of the normativity of meaning, rejecting one and defending the other. Though the paper aims to (...) settle a dispute among proponents of the claim that meaning is normative, it should be of interest to those who challenge it. After all, before one takes aim, one’s target needs to be in clear view. (shrink)
Moral claims not only purport to be true, they also purport to guide our choices. This book presents a new theory of normative judgment, the "standard-based theory," which offers a schematic account of the truth conditions of normative propositions of all kinds, including moral propositions and propositions about reasons. The heart of Copp's approach to moral propositions is a theory of the circumstances under which corresponding moral standards qualify as justified, the "society-centered theory." He argues that because any society needs (...) a social moral code in order to enable its members to live together successfully, and because it would be rational for a society to choose such a code, certain moral codes, and the standards they include, are justified. According to the standard-based theory then, if certain moral standards are indeed justified, corresponding moral propositions may be true. Copp's approach to morality and explaining normativity and the truth conditions of moral claims, raises a number of important issues in moral theory, as well as in metaphysics and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
It is generally accepted that there are two kinds of normative concepts: evaluative concepts, such as good, and deontic concepts, such as ought. The question that is raised by this distinction is how it is possible to claim that evaluative concepts are normative. Given that deontic concepts appear to be at the heart of normativity, the bigger the gap between evaluative and deontic concepts, the less it appears plausible to say that evaluative concepts are normative. After having presented the (...) main differences between evaluative and deontic concepts, and shown that there is more than a superficial difference between the two kinds, the paper turns to the question of the normativity of evaluative concepts. It will become clear that, even if these concepts have different functions, there are a great many ties between evaluative concepts, on the one hand, and the concepts of ought and of reason, on the other. (shrink)
We compare the role of Cartesian assumptions in the symbol grounding problem and in the Myth of the Given: We argue that the Sellars–McDowell critique of the Myth of the Given and, in particular, its use of the concept of normativity can provide useful resources for responding to the symbol grounding problem. We also describe the concepts of normativity at work in computer science and cognitive science: We argue that normative concepts are pervasive in the sciences and that, (...) in particular, McDowell’s dichotomy between the normative space of reasons and the realm of nature is somewhat problematic. (shrink)
In this paper, I review Quine's response to the normativity charge against naturalized epistemology. On this charge, Quine's naturalized epistemology neglects the essential normativity of the traditional theory of knowledge and hence cannot count as its successor. According to Quine, normativity is retained in naturalism as ‘the technology of truth-seeking’. I first disambiguate Quine's naturalism into three programs of increasing strength and clarify the strongest program by means of the so-called Epistemic Skinner Box. Then, I investigate two (...) ways in which the appeal to technology as normative enterprise can be made good. I argue that neither coheres with other aspects of Quine's philosophy, most notably the elimination of intentionality. Finally, I briefly consider a third reconstruction of the response, which involves an extension of the web of “belief” to practical know-how. I conclude that the normativity of Quine's (strong) naturalism cannot be found in the technology of truth-seeking. (shrink)
Technical artifacts have the capacity to fulfill their function in virtue of their physicochemical make-up. An explanation that purports to explicate this relation between artifact function and structure can be called a technological explanation. It might be argued, and Peter Kroes has in fact done so, that there issomething peculiar about technological explanations in that they are intrinsically normative in some sense. Since the notion of artifact function is a normative one (if an artifact has a proper function, it ought (...) to behave in specific ways) an explanation of an artifact’s function must inherit this normativity.In this paper I will resist this conclusion by outlining and defending a ‘buck-passing account’ of the normativity of technological explanations. I will first argue that it is important to distinguish properly between (1) a theory of function ascriptions and (2) an explanation of how a function is realized. The task of the former is to spell out the conditions under which one is justified in ascribing a function to an artifact; the latter should show how the physicochemical make-up of an artifact enables it to fulfill its function. Second, I wish to maintain that a good theory of function ascriptions should account for the normativity of these ascriptions. Provided such a function theory can be formulated — as I think it can — a technological explanation may pass the normativity buck to it. Third, to flesh out these abstract claims, I show how a particular function theory — to wit, the ICE theory by Pieter Vermaas and Wybo Houkes — can be dovetailed smoothly with my own thoughts on technological explanation. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a detailed critical reading of Robert Brandom’s project to give an expressive bootstrapping account of intentionality, cashed out as a normative-phenomenalist account of what I will call genuine normativity. I claim that there is a reading of Making It Explicit that evades the predominant charges of either reductionism or circularity. However, making sense of Brandom’s book in the way proposed here involves correcting Brandom’s own general account of what he is doing in it, and (...) thus presenting the argumentative structure of Making It Explicit in a new light. (shrink)
Young children interpret some acts performed by adults as normatively governed, that is, as capable of being performed either rightly or wrongly. In previous experiments, children have made this interpretation when adults introduced them to novel acts with normative language (e.g. ‘this is the way it goes’), along with pedagogical cues signaling culturally important information, and with social-pragmatic marking that this action is a token of a familiar type. In the current experiment, we exposed children to novel actions with no (...) normative language, and we systematically varied pedagogical and social-pragmatic cues in an attempt to identify which of them, if either, would lead children to normative interpretations. We found that young 3-year-old children inferred normativity without any normative language and without any pedagogical cues. The only cue they used was adult socialpragmatic marking of the action as familiar, as if it were a token of a well-known type (as opposed to performing it, as if inventing it on the spot). These results suggest that – in the absence of explicit normative language – young children interpret adult actions as normatively governed based mainly on the intentionality (perhaps signaling conventionality) with which they are performed. (shrink)
Why do agent-relative reasons have authority over us, reflective creatures? Reductive accounts base the normativity of agent-relative reasons on agent-neutral considerations like having parents caring especially for their own children serves best the interests of all children. Such accounts, however, beg the question about the source of normativity of agent-relative ways of reason-giving. In this paper, I argue for a non-reductive account of the reflective necessity of agent-relative concerns. Such an account will reveal an important structural complexity of (...) practical reasoning in general. Christine Korsgaard relates the rational binding force of practical reasons to the various identities or self-conceptions under which we value ourselves. The problem is that it is not clear why such self-conceptions would necessitate us rationally, given the fact that most of our identities are simply given. Perhaps, Harry Frankfurt is right in arguing that we are not only necessitated by reason, but also, and predominantly by what we love. I argue, however, that the necessities of love (in Frankfurts phrase) are not to be separated from, but should be seen as belonging to the necessities of reason. Our loves, concerns and related identities provide for a specific and important structure to practical reflection. They function on the background of reasoning, having a specific default role: they would lose their character as concerns, if there was a need for them to be cited on the foreground of deliberation or if there was a need to justify them. This does not mean that our deep concerns cannot be scrutinised. They can only be scrutinised in an indirect way, however, which explains their role in grounding the normativity of agent-relative reasons. It appears that this account can provide for a viable interpretation of Korsgaards argument about the foundational role of practical identities. (shrink)
Some of Catherine Malabou’s recent work has developed her conception of plasticity (originally deployed in a reading of Hegelian Aufhebung ) in relation to neuroscience. This development clarifies and advances her attempt to bring contemporary theory into dialogue with the natural sciences, while indirectly indicating her engagement with the French tradition in philosophy of science and philosophy of medicine, especially the work of Georges Canguilhem. I argue that we can see her development of plasticity as an answer to some specific (...) shortcomings in Canguilhem’s conception of organic or biological normativity as advanced in The Normal and the Pathological . Such a view of plasticity shows its potential to provide the basis for a powerful critical engagement with contemporary conceptions of selfhood, self-transformation, subjectivation, and the general theory of norms. (shrink)
I defend a neo-Kantian view wherein we are capable of being completely autonomous and impartial and argue that this ability can ground normativity. As this view includes an existentialist conception of the self, I defend radical choice, a primary component of that conception, against arguments many take to be definitive. I call the ability to use radical choice “existentialist voluntarism” and bring it into a current debate in normative philosophy, arguing that it allows that we can be distanced from (...) all ends at once so as to be completely impartial. Finally, I indicate how this can be the source of normativity as it provides a purely impartial reason for being rational. (shrink)
The contributors to this volume engage with issues of normativity within naturalised philosophy. The issues are critical to naturalism as most traditional notions in philosophy, such as knowledge, justification or representation, are said to involve normativity. Some of the contributors pursue the question of the correct place of normativity within a naturalised ontology, with emergentist and eliminativist answers offered on neighbouring pages. Others seek to justify particular norms within a naturalised framework, the more surprising ones including naturalist (...) takes on the a priori and intuitions. Finally, yet others examine concrete examples of the application of norms within particular epistemic endeavours, such as psychopathology and design. The overall picture is that of an intimate engagement with issues of normativity on the part of naturalist philosophers – questioning some of the fundamentals at the same time as they try to work out many of the details. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider an argument of Harvey Siegel's according to which there can be no hypothetical normativity anywhere unless there is categorical normativity in epistemology. The argument fails because it falsely assumes people must be bound by epistemic norms in order to have justified beliefs.
What is one who takes normativity seriously to do if normativity can neither be discovered lurking out there in the world independently of us nor can it be sufficiently grasped from a merely explanatory perspective? One option is to accept that the normative challenge cannot be met and to retreat to some form of moral skepticism. Another possibility has recently been proposed by Christine Korsgaard in The Sources of Normativity where she aims to develop an account of (...)normativity which is grounded in autonomy. Furthermore, she argues that on her account reasons are "essentially public" and that this captures how it is that we can obligate one another. In this paper I argue that there is a serious tension between her account of normativity and the publicity of reasons-namely, that if reasons are essentially public, then it is not possible for individuals to legislate laws for themselves. However, I then argue that if we revise her conception of normativity such that it is understood to involve collective rather than individual legislation that it may then be possible to account for interpersonal reasons. (shrink)
It has been argued that deflationary theories of truth stumble over the normativity of truth. This paper maintains that the normativity objection does not pose problems to at least one version of deflationism, minimalism. The rest of the paper discusses truth-related norms, showing that either they do not hold or they are not troublesome for deflationism.
In this paper, making reference to Robert Brandom's philosophical proposal - and against the background of Brandom's debate with Jürgen Habermas - I shall endeavor, first, to define the relation between recognition and normativity and then between recognition and criticism; in the final part of the paper I shall suggest a perspective that approaches recognition in terms of capacities. On this basis I attempt to see the critical attitude as something that is founded more on individual potentials than on (...) formal criteria and that is essentially connected with a power of redescription: a dialectical anthropology of recognition is thus the most promising base to account for that which substantiates our critical powers. (shrink)
Joseph Raz's new book, Between Authority and Interpretation , collects his most important papers in the philosophy of law and the theory of practical rationality from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. In these papers, Raz not only advances earlier theses but also breaks new ground in a number of areas. I focus on three of Raz's topics here: theories of law, separability and necessity, and the normativity of law. While I am generally sympathetic to Raz's thinking on these topics, (...) I raise some room for doubt - especially with regard to his pessimism about finding a uniquely best theory of law and the relationship between law and morality. (shrink)
[David Papineau] This paper disputes the common assumption that the normativity of conceptual judgement poses a problem for naturalism. My overall strategy is to argue that norms of judgement derive from moral or personal values, particularly when such values are attached to the end of truth. While there are philosophical problems associated with both moral and personal values, they are not special to the realm of judgement, nor peculiar to naturalist philosophies. This approach to the normativity of judgement (...) is made possible by naturalist views of truth, that is, views which do not presuppose normativity in explaining truth. /// [Julia Tanney] This paper attempts to describe why it is not possible to account for normative phenomena in non-normative terms. It argues that Papineau's attempt to locate norms of judgement 'outside' content, grounded in an individual's desires or reasons, mislocates the normativity that is thought to resist appropriation within a 'world that conceives nature as the realm of law'. It agrees, however, that a theory of content that locates norms 'inside' content will not be forthcoming-at least if this is to require fashioning the norms that in some sense govern judgment or thought into individually necessary conditions for contentful states. (shrink)
At the heart of the philosophy of John Serale there is found a comprehensive biology of the spirit. But there is a tension in his position. On the one hand, modern biology, such as he understands it, requires a certain conception of normativity. On the other hand, the fashion in which Searle himself understands intentionality requires a very different conception of normativity. To resolve the difficulty, Searle must at the same time modify his understanding of biology and nuance (...) his idea that spirit is a biological phenomenon just like any other. (shrink)