Attitude and Social Rules, or Why It's Okay to Slurp Your Soup

Philosophers' Imprint 21 (28) (2021)
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Many of the most important social institutions—e.g., law and language—are thought to be normative in some sense. And philosophers have been puzzled by how this normativity can be explained in terms of the social, descriptive states of affairs that presumably constitute them. This paper attempts to solve this sort of puzzle by considering a simpler and less contentious normative social practice: table manners. Once we are clear on the exact sense in which a practice is normative, we see that some practices can be normative in an interesting and non-trivial sense, but also explicable with merely descriptive resources. In addition to arguing that it is possible to explain normative practices with descriptive resources, this paper presents and defends just such an explanation—an account of the nature of table manners that appeals only to descriptive states of affairs.



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Jeffrey Kaplan
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Citations of this work

How to Understand Rule-Constituted Kinds.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):7-27.
Regulative Rules: A Distinctive Normative Kind.Reiland Indrek - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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