The Unity of Normativity

In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 23-45 (2018)

Ralph Wedgwood
University of Southern California
What is normativity? It is argued here that normativity is best understood as a property of certain concepts: normative thoughts are those involving these normative concepts; normative statements are statements that express normative thoughts; and normative facts are the facts (if such there be) that make such normative thoughts true. Many philosophers propose that there is a single basic normative concept—perhaps the concept of a reason for an action or attitude—in terms of which all other normative concepts can be defined. It is argued here that this proposal faces grave difficulties. According to a better proposal, what these normative concepts have in common is that they have a distinctive sort of conceptual role—a reasoning-guiding conceptual role. This proposal is illustrated by a number of examples: different normative concepts differ from each other in virtue of their having different conceptual roles of this reasoning-guiding kind.
Keywords normativity  concepts  definition  reasons  reasoning  conceptual role semantics
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What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Being Realistic About Reasons.T. M. Scanlon - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (2):227-228.

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