Noûs 55 (1):3-22 (2021)
AbstractNormative explanations of why things are wrong, good, or unfair are ubiquitous in ordinary practice and normative theory. This paper argues that normative explanation is subject to a justification condition: a correct complete explanation of why a normative fact holds must identify features that would go at least some way towards justifying certain actions or attitudes. I first explain and motivate the condition I propose. I then support it by arguing that it fits well with various theories of normative reasons, makes good sense of certain legitimate moves in ordinary normative explanatory discourse, and helps to make sense of our judgments about explanatory priority in certain cases of normative explanation. This last argument also helps to highlight respects in which normative explanation won’t be worryingly discontinuous with explanations in other domains even though these other explanations aren’t subject to the justification condition. Thus the paper aims not only to do some constructive theorizing about the relatively neglected topic of normative explanation but also to cast light on the broader question of how normative explanation may be similar to and different from explanations in other domains.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Similar books and articles
Reasons Why in Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):607-623.
A Normative Account of the Need for Explanation.Zanja Yudell & Wai-Hung Wong - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2863-2885.
Three Grades of Normative Involvement: Risjord, Stueber, and Henderson on Norms and Explanation.Paul A. Roth - 2005 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (3):339-352.
Norm and Law in the Theory of Action.Ruth Macklin - 1968 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 11 (1-4):400 – 409.
Do Normative Facts Need to Explain?Jeremy Randel Koons - 2000 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (3):246–272.
Trust in the Normative Domain.Stephen Wright - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2):187-204.
Knowledge as a Non‐Normative Relation.Kurt Sylvan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):190-222.
Norms, Normative Principles, and Explanation: On Not Getting is From Ought.David Henderson - 2002 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (3):329-364.
The Guise of the Good and the Problem of Over-Intellectualism.Amir Saemi - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (3):489-501.
Normative Explanations: Invoking Rationality to Explain Happenings.Allan F. Gibbard - 2002 - In Jose Luis Bermudez & Alan Millar (eds.), Reason and Nature. Clarendon Press.
References found in this work
Kinds of Reasons: An Essay in the Philosophy of Action.Maria Alvarez - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work
Normative Explanation Unchained.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):278-297.
The Source of Epistemic Normativity: Scientific Change as an Explanatory Problem.Thodoris Dimitrakos - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (5):469-506.