Normative force and normative freedom: Hume and Kant, but not Hume versus Kant

Ratio 12 (4):320–353 (1999)
Peter Railton
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Our notion of normativity appears to combine, in a way difficult to understand but seemingly familiar from experience, elements of force and freedom. On the one hand, a normative claim is thought to have a kind of compelling authority; on the other hand, if our respecting it is to be an appropriate species of respect, it must not be coerced, automatic, or trivially guaranteed by definition. Both Hume and Kant, I argue, looked to aesthetic experience as a convincing example exhibiting this marriage of force and freedom, as well as showing how our judgment can come to be properly attuned to the features that constitute value. This image of attunement carries over into their respective accounts of moral judgment. The seemingly radical difference between their moral theories may be traceable not to a different conception of normativity, but to a difference in their empirical psychological theories – a difference we can readily spot in their accounts of aesthetics
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9329.00098
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