Normativity and self-relations

Philosophical Studies 172 (2):359-374 (2015)

Yair Levy
Tel Aviv University
The paper criticizes two prominent accounts which purport to explain normativity by appealing to some relation that one bears to oneself. Michael Bratman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would fail to govern oneself. And David Velleman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would be less intelligible to oneself. Both Bratman and Velleman argue in quite different ways that rational coherence is normative because it is necessary for the instantiation or promotion of the independently normative self-relation they invoke. But the paper presents a similar scenario which arguably exposes a failure of extensional adequacy common to both accounts: one can instantiate the self-relation in question without being formally coherent. A brief diagnosis is offered for why two such different accounts turn out to be vulnerable to a similar counterexample, suggesting that other accounts which appeal to self-relations in a broadly similar way might also suffer from the problem identified here
Keywords rationality  normativity  instrumental rationality  self-governance  self-intelligibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0307-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 49,017
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
The Possibility of Practical Reason.David Velleman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

In Defense of Exclusionary Reasons.N. P. Adams - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Is There Reason to Be Theoretically Rational?Andrew Reisner - 2011 - In Andrew Reisner & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press.
Two Accounts of the Normativity of Rationality.Jonathan Way - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (1):1-9.
The Normativity of Instrumental Reason.Christine Korsgaard - 1997 - In Garrett Cullity & Berys Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Normativity and Interpersonal Reasons.Ken O'Day - 1998 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):61-87.


Added to PP index

Total views
140 ( #61,406 of 2,310,674 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #518,176 of 2,310,674 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature