Marmor’s Social Conventions: The Limits of Practical Reason

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (3):420-445 (2011)
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This essay argues that the practical reason approach to the study of social conventions (and social normativity more generally) fails to adequately account for the fluency of social action in environments that we experience as familiar. The practical reason approach, articulated most recently in Andrei Marmor’s Social Conventions: From Language to Law (2009) does help us, though not wholly adequately, to understand how we tend to react to, and experience, unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar behaviors, that is, those situations in which a certain practice becomes problematic or is problematized, or where we are obliged to, or moved to, justify or deliberate. The reason why the practical reason approach is not wholly adequate when it comes to understanding unfamiliar situations or unfamiliar behaviors is that it tends to subsume the unfamiliar under the familiar, that is, it tends to negatively evaluate anything that is deemed to be not in accordance with the rules and reasons already familiar to the observer. This excludes the possibility of the observer having to transform himself or herself, and thus change what is familiar to him or her



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Maksymilian Del Mar
Queen Mary University of London

Citations of this work

The Normativity of Sport: A Historicist Take on Broad Internalism.William J. Morgan - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 43 (1):27-39.
Games, Rules, and Conventions.William J. Morgan - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (3):383-401.
Must We Play to Win? A Reply to Morgan.Maksymilian Del Mar - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (2):266-272.

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References found in this work

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Lewis - 1969 - Synthese 26 (1):153-157.
On Social Facts.Margaret Gilbert - 1989 - Ethics 102 (4):853-856.
The Construction of Social Reality.John Searle - 1995 - Philosophy 71 (276):313-315.
On knowledge and convention.Tyler Burge - 1975 - Philosophical Review 84 (2):249-255.

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