Practices and the Direct Perception of Normative States: Part II

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (1):74-85 (2014)
The overall aim of this two-part paper is to provide a supplement to ability theories of practice in terms of a defense of the following thesis: Individuals’ ability to act appropriately sometimes depends on their exercise of the ability directly to perceive normative states. In part I, I presented the account of direct perception. In this part II, I argue that, by the lights of this account, normative states are sometimes directly perceptible. Also, I show that the ability directly to perceive normative states is a commonly possessed—and exercised—ability. On this basis, I establish the conclusion that, in situations of social interaction, individuals’ ability to act appropriately is sometimes underwritten by their exercise of the ability directly to perceive normative states. By way of ending, I briefly explain the different ways in which my discussion constitutes both a useful supplement to ability theories of practice and a reply to an important objection raised against these theories.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393112462517
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