Defining Normativity

In Toh Kevin, Plunkett David & Shapiro Scott (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 62-104 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper investigates whether different philosophers’ claims about “normativity” are about the same subject or (as recently argued by Derek Parfit) theorists who appear to disagree are really using the term with different meanings, in order to cast disambiguating light on the debates over at least the nature, existence, extension, and analyzability of normativity. While I suggest the term may be multiply ambiguous, I also find reasons for optimism about a common subject-matter for metanormative theory. This is supported partly by sketching a special kind of hybrid view of normative judgment, perspectivism, that occupies a position between cognitivism and noncognitivism, naturalism and nonnaturalism, objectivism and subjectivism, making it more plausible that radically different metanormative theories could be about the same thing. I explore three main fissures: between (i) the “normativity” of language/thought versus that of facts and properties, (ii) abstract versus substantive senses, and (iii) formal versus robust senses.

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Stephen Finlay
Australian Catholic University

Citations of this work

Linguistic Mistakes.Indrek Reiland - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (5):2191-2206.
The Authority of Formality.Jack Woods - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
Mere formalities: fictional normativity and normative authority.Daniel Wodak - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):1-23.
Ethics and the Question of What to Do.Olle Risberg - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (2).

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome (ed.) - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.

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