Everyone agrees that not all norms that govern belief and assertion are epistemic. But not enough attention has been paid to distinguishing epistemic norms from others. Norms in general differ from merely evaluative standards in virtue of the fact that it is fitting to hold subjects accountable for violating them, provided they lack an excuse. Different kinds of norm are most readily distinguished by their distinctive mode of accountability. My thesis is roughly that a norm is epistemic if and only (...) if its violation makes it fitting to reduce epistemic trust in the subject, even if there is no doubt about their sincerity, honesty, or other moral virtues. That is, violations of epistemic norms don’t merit resentment or other forms of blame, but rather deduction of credibility points in internal scorekeeping and related attitudinal and behavioral changes. As Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice shows, such distrust is undesirable from the point of view of an epistemic agent. Consequently, when one manifests epistemic distrust towards a subject in suitable circumstances, it amounts a way of holding her accountable. Since this form of accountability involves no opprobrium, there is good reason to think it is not linked to voluntary control in the same way as moral accountability. Finally, I make use of this account of what makes epistemic norms distinctive to point out some faulty diagnostics in debates about norms of assertion. My aim is not to defend any substantive view, however, but only to offer tools for identifying the right kind of evidence for epistemic norms. (shrink)
Sometimes our intentions and beliefs exhibit a structure that proves us to be irrational. This dissertation is concerned with the question of whether we ought (or have at least good reason) to avoid such irrationality. The thesis defends the normativity of rationality by presenting a new solution to the problems that arise from the common assumption that we ought to be rational. The argument touches upon many other topics in the theory of normativity, such as the form and (...) the content of rational standards or requirements, the preconditions of criti¬cism, and the function of reasons in deliberation and advice. Over and above an exten¬sive assessment of the problems discussed in the literature, the thesis provides a detailed defence of a reason-response conception of rationality, a novel, evidence-relative account of reasons, and an explanation of structural irrationality in terms of these accounts. (shrink)
Normative 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. (shrink)
Practical Reason and Norms focuses on three problems: In what way are rules normative, and how do they differ from ordinary reasons? What makes normative systems systematic? What distinguishes legal systems, and in what consists their normativity? All three questions are answered by taking reasons as the basic normative concept, and showing the distinctive role reasons have in every case, thus paving the way to a unified account of normativity. Rules are a structure of reasons to perform the (...) required act and an exclusionary reason not to follow some competing reasons. Exclusionary reasons are explained, and used to unlock the secrets of orders, promises, and decisions as well as rules. Games are used to exemplify normative systems. Inevitably, the analysis extends to some aspects of normative discourse, which is truth-apt, but with a diminished assertoric force. (shrink)
My paper examines the popular idea, defended by Kripke, that meaning is an essentially normative notion. I consider four common versions of this idea and suggest that none of them can be supported, either because the alleged normativity has nothing to do with normativity or because it cannot plausibly be said that meaning is normative in the sense suggested. I argue that contrary to received opinion, we don’t need normativity to secure the possibility of meaning. I conclude (...) by considering the repercussions of rejecting semantic normativity on three central issues: justification, communication, and naturalism. (shrink)
Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed on (...) some of the problems that the buck-passing account faces, such as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem. Less attention, however, has been paid as to why we should accept the buck-passing account or what the theoretical pay-offs and other implications of accepting it are. The Normative and the Evaluative provides the first comprehensive motivation and defence of the buck-passing account of value. Richard Rowland argues that the buck-passing account explains several important features of the relationship between reasons and value, as well as the relationship between the different varieties of value, in a way that its competitors do not. He shows that alternatives to the buck-passing account are inconsistent with important views in normative ethics, uninformative, and at odds with the way in which we should see practical and epistemic normativity as related. In addition, he extends the buck-passing account to provide an account of moral properties as well as all other normative and deontic properties and concepts, such as fittingness and ought, in terms of reasons. (shrink)
Research on meaningful work has not embraced a shared definition of what it is, in part because many researchers and laypersons agree that it means different things to different people. However, subjective and social accounts of meaningful work have limited practical value to help people pursue it and to help scholars study it. The account of meaningful work advanced in this paper is inherently normative. It recognizes the relevance of subjective experience and social agreement to appraisals of meaningfulness but considers (...) them conceptually incomplete and practically limited. According to this normative account, meaningful work should be meaningful to oneself and to others and is also meaningful independent of them. It sets forth grounds for evaluating some work to be more meaningful than other work, asserting the possibility that one could be mistaken about the meaningfulness of one’s work. While it thus proscribes some claims to meaningful work, it also opens up potential new avenues of inquiry into, among other things, self-aggrandizing and harmful work that is experienced as meaningful, morally valuable work that is not experienced as meaningful, and the distinction between experienced and normative meaningfulness. (shrink)
The distinction between the agent-relative and the agent-neutral plays a prominent role in recent attempts to taxonomize normative theories. Its importance extends to most areas in practical philosophy, though. Despite its popularity, the distinction remains difficult to get a good grip on. In part this has to do with the fact that there is no consensus concerning the sort of objects to which we should apply the distinction. Thomas Nagel distinguishes between agent-neutral and agent-relative values, reasons, and principles; Derek Parfit (...) focuses on normative theories (and the aims they provide to agents), David McNaughton and Piers Rawling focus on rules and reasons, Skorupski on predicates, and there are other suggestions too. Some writers suspect that we fundamentally talk about one and the same distinction. This work is about practical reasons for action rather than theoretical reasons for belief. Moreover, focus is on whether reasons do or do not essentially refer to particular agents. A challenge that undermines the dichotomy in this sense is posed. After having rejected different attempts to defend the distinction, it is argued that there is a possible defence that sets out from Jonathan Dancy’s recent distinction between enablers and favourers. (shrink)
Some philosophers think that normative properties are identical to descriptive properties. In this paper, I argue that this entails that it is possible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I argue that Frank Jackson's argument to show that this is possible fails, and that the objections to this argument show that it is impossible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I conclude that normative properties are not identical to descriptive properties. I then (...) show that if we combine this conclusion with the conclusion of a different argument that Jackson has given to show that there are no irreducibly normative properties, it follows that there are no normative properties at all. (shrink)
In this paper, I enter the debate between those who hold that our normative uncertainty matters for what we ought to do, and those who hold that only our descriptive uncertainty matters. I argue that existing views in both camps have unacceptable implications in cases where our descriptive beliefs depend on our normative beliefs. I go on to propose a fix which is available only to those who hold that normative uncertainty matters, ultimately leaving the challenge as a threat to (...) recent skepticism about such views. (shrink)
More than ever, it is in vogue to argue that no norms either play a role in or directly follow from the theory of mental content. In this paper, I present an intuitive theory of intentionality (including a theory of mental content) on which norms are constitutive of the intentional properties of attitude and content in order to show that this trend is misguided. Although this theory of intentionality—the teleological theory of intentional representation—does involve a commitment to representational norms, these (...) norms are not problematic in the way critics have suggested they would be. In particular, these norms do not guide thinking by motivating intentional agents to (intentionally) accord with them; as a result, no obvious vicious regress threatens the theory. In the final section of this paper, I argue that accepting this teleological theory of intentionality need not commit one to thinking that intentionality is the product of natural selection. (shrink)
In virtue of what is something a reason for action? That is, what makes a consideration a reason to act? This is a metaphysical or meta-normative question about the grounding of reasons for action. The answer to the grounding question has been traditionally given in ‘pure’, univocal terms. This paper argues that there is good reason to understand the ground of practical normativity as a hybrid of traditional ‘pure’ views. The paper 1) surveys the three leading ‘pure’ answers to (...) the question of a normative ground, 2) examines one or two of the most difficult problems for each, proposing along the way a new objection to one, and 3) argues that a particular hybrid view about normative grounds –‘hybrid voluntarism’ – avoids each of the main problems faced by the three leading ‘pure’ views. (shrink)
Epistemology needs to account for the success of science. In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that a veritist epistemology is inadequate to this task. She advocates shifting epistemology’s focus away from true belief and toward understanding, and further, jettisoning truth from its privileged place in epistemological theorizing. Pace Elgin, I argue that epistemology’s accommodation of science does not require rejecting truth as the central epistemic value. Instead, it requires understanding veritism in an ecumenical way that acknowledges a rich array of (...) truth-oriented values. ¶ In place of veritism, Elgin offers a holistic epistemology that takes epistemic norms to have their genesis in our collective practice of deliberation. The acceptability of epistemic norms turns on epistemic responsibility, as opposed to reliability, and truth-conduciveness is rejected as the standard of evaluation for arguments and methods of inquiry. I argue, by way of an extended discussion of a high-profile and controversial criminal case, that this leaves epistemic practices and their products inadequately grounded. I offer an alternative, veritistic account of epistemic norms that retains a modified version of truth-conduciveness as a standard of evaluation. However, my alternative account of epistemic norms is congenial to Elgin’s holistic epistemology, and, I suggest, could be incorporated within it. (shrink)
In Biro and Siegel we argued that a theory of argumentation mustfully engage the normativity of judgments about arguments, and we developedsuch a theory. In this paper we further develop and defend our theory.
Emotion plays an important role in securing social stability. But while emotions like fear, anger, and guilt have received much attention in this context, little work has been done to understand the role that anxiety plays. That’s unfortunate. I argue that a particular form of anxiety—what I call ‘practical anxiety’—plays an important, but as of yet unrecognized, role in norm-based social regulation. More specifically, it provides a valuable form of metacognition, one that contributes to social stability by helping individuals negotiate (...) the challenges that come from having to act in the face of unclear norms. (shrink)
Kiesewetter defends the normativity of rationality by presenting a new solution to the problems that arise from the common assumption that we ought to be rational. He provides a defence of a reason-response conception of rationality, an evidence-relative account of reason, and an explanation of structural irrationality in relation to these accounts.
Normative requirements are often overlooked, but they are central features of the normative world. Rationality is often thought to consist in acting for reasons, but following normative requirements is also a major part of rationality. In particular, correct reasoning – both theoretical and practical – is governed by normative requirements rather than by reasons. This article explains the nature of normative requirements, and gives examples of their importance. It also describes mistakes that philosophers have made as a result of confusing (...) normative requirements with reasons. (shrink)
I suggest that the post-Hegelian tradition presents us with three contrasting normative models of work. According to the first model, the core norms of work are those of means-ends rationality. In this model, the modern world of work is constitutively a matter of deploying the most effective means to bring about given ends. The rational kernel of modern work, the core norm that has shaped its development, is on this view instrumental reason, and this very same normative core, in the (...) shape of advanced technology and more efficient, time-saving production, can help to liberate it. The second model, by contrast, takes the core norms of work to be internal to working activity. Rather than work gaining its normativity from something external to it, from ends to which the work is a contingent means, on this second view the core norms of work are expressions of values or meanings that are immanent to working practices themselves. The expressive model of work regards the actual world of work to be constituted historically by work-specific norms, norms which working subjects themselves have invoked and mobilised around in the course of their struggles for emancipation. According to the third model, the core norms of work have to do neither with instrumental rationality nor authentic self-expression. Rather they concern norms that relate either to individual achievement or contribution through work (in the form of esteem) or to the conditions that must in place for individuals to participate in the exchange of services by which market societies reproduce themselves (in the form of mutual respect). (shrink)
This chapter offers an analysis of the authoritatively normative concept PRACTICAL OUGHT that appeals to the constitutive norms for the activity of non-arbitrary selection. It argues that this analysis permits an attractive and substantive explanation of what the distinctive normative authority of this concept amounts to, while also explaining why a clear statement of what such authority amounts to has been so elusive in the recent literature. The account given is contrasted with more familiar constitutivist theories, and briefly shows how (...) it answers “schmagency”-style objections to constitutivist explanations of normativity. Finally, the chapter explains how the account offered here can help realists, error theorist, and fictionalists address central challenges to their views. (shrink)
There are currently two robust traditions in philosophy dealing with doxastic attitudes: the tradition that is concerned primarily with all-or-nothing belief, and the tradition that is concerned primarily with degree of belief or credence. This paper concerns the relationship between belief and credence for a rational agent, and is directed at those who may have hoped that the notion of belief can either be reduced to credence or eliminated altogether when characterizing the norms governing ideally rational agents. It presents a (...) puzzle which lends support to two theses. First, that there is no formal reduction of a rational agent’s beliefs to her credences, because belief and credence are each responsive to different features of a body of evidence. Second, that if our traditional understanding of our practices of holding each other responsible is correct, then belief has a distinctive role to play, even for ideally rational agents, that cannot be played by credence. The question of which avenues remain for the credence-only theorist is considered. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of the authoritatively normative concept PRACTICAL OUGHT that appeals to the constitutive norms for the activity of non-arbitrary selection. I argue that this analysis permits an attractive and substantive explanation of what the distinctive normative authority of this concept amounts to. I contrast my account with more familiar constitutivist theories, and briefly show how it answers ‘schmagency’-style objections to constitutivist explanations of normativity. Finally, I explain how the account offered here can be used to (...) help realists, error theorist, and fictionalists address central challenges to their views. (shrink)
What are our duties or rights? How should we act? What are we responsible for? Joseph Raz examines the philosophical issues underlying these everyday questions. He explores the nature of normativity--the reasoning behind certain beliefs and emotions about how we should behave--and offers a novel account of responsibility.
Recently, some philosophers have suggested that a form of robust realism about ethics, or normativity more generally, does not face a significant explanatory burden in metaphysics. I call this view metaphysically quietist normative realism . This paper argues that while this view can appear to constitute an attractive alternative to more traditional forms of normative realism, it cannot deliver on this promise. I examine Scanlon’s attempt to defend such a quietist realism, and argue that rather than silencing metaphysical questions (...) about normative reasons, his defense at best succeeds only in shifting the focus of metaphysical enquiry. I then set aside the details of Scanlon’s view, and argue on general grounds that that the quietist realist cannot finesse a crucial metanormative task: to explain the contrast between the correct normative system and alternative putatively normative standards. (shrink)
Non-naturalists claim that the nature of normativity precludes the possibility of normative naturalism. In particular, they think that normative reduction amounts to normative elimination. This is because it always leaves out the normative. In this paper, I examine the force that the normativity objection has against Humean reductionism. I argue that the normativity objection has no argumentative force against reductionism. When it is presented as a bare intuition, it begs the question against reduction. A more interesting reading (...) of the argument claims that the normative cannot be explained in terms of the natural because the natural is arbitrary. Yet, this version of the argument fails as well because the natural is not arbitrary in the relevant sense. The natural is contingent, so what has value is contingent. That is not an elimination of the normative though, because contingent reasons are still reasons. (shrink)
Despite a significant amount of literature debating the efficiency of high-risk pools in health insurance, dramatically less has been written about their normative implications. The present article takes the route less traveled by setting aside the question of efficiency to argue that the use of high-risk pools creates some serious normative concerns. The article explores these concerns by dividing them on two fronts. First, as regards the social-recognitional status of those who are forced into the high-risk pool. Second, as regards (...) a general concern of distributive justice, namely fairness in access to resources. The author argues that regardless of the veracity of arguments which laud the efficiency of high-risk pools, their use in health insurance is unjust because of the herein explained implications for social recognition and distributive justice. (shrink)
In Norms in the Wild, distinguished philosopher Cristina Bicchieri argues that when it comes to human behavior, social scientists place too much stress on rational deliberation. In fact, she says, many choices occur without much deliberation at all. Two people passing in a corridor automatically negotiate their shared space; cars at an intersection obey traffic signals; we choose clothing based on our instincts for what is considered appropriate. Bicchieri's theory of social norms accounts for these automatic components of coordination, where (...) individuals react automatically to cues that focus their attention on what the norm is in that situation. Social norms thus act as rules for making choices in a social world where people expect others -- often unconsciously -- to follow the same rule. Some norms enable seamless social co-operation, while others are less beneficial to human flourishing.Bicchieri is famous for her interdisciplinary work on game theory and most recently her work on social norms, and Norms in the Wild represents her latest challenge to many of the fundamental assumptions of the social sciences. Bicchieri's work has broad implications not only for understanding human behavior, but for changing it for better outcomes. People have a strongly conditioned preference for following social norms, but that also means that manipulating their expectations can cause major behavioral changes. Bicchieri has been working recently with UNICEF and other NGO's to explore the applicability of her views to issues of human rights around the world. Is it possible to change social expectations around forced marriage, genital mutilations, and public health practices like vaccinations and sanitation? If so, how? What tools might we use? This short book explores how social norms work, and how changing them - changing preferences, beliefs, and especially social expectations - can potentially improve lives all around the world. It will appeal to an unusually broad range of readers including philosophers, psychologists and others in behavioral sciences, and anyone involved in public policy or at NGOs. (shrink)
What should I do? What should I think? Traditionally, ethicists tackle the first question, while epistemologists tackle the second. Philosophers have tended to investigate the issue of what to do independently of the issue of what to think, that is, to do ethics independently of epistemology, and vice versa. This collection of new essays by leading philosophers focuses on a central concern of both epistemology and ethics: normativity. Normativity is a matter of what one should or may do (...) or think, what one has reason or justification to do or to think, what it is right or wrong to do or to think, and so on. The volume is innovative in drawing together issues from epistemology and ethics and in exploring neglected connections between epistemic and practical normativity. It represents a burgeoning research programme in which epistemic and practical normativity are seen as two aspects of a single topic, deeply interdependent and raising parallel questions. (shrink)
Recent views in hinge epistemology rely on doxastic normativism to argue that our attitudes towards hinge propositions are not beliefs. This paper has two aims; the first is positive: it discusses the general normative credentials of this move. The second is negative: it delivers two negative results for No-Belief hinge epistemology such construed. The first concerns the motivation for the view: if we’re right, doxastic normativism offers little in the way of theoretical support for the claim that our attitudes towards (...) hinge propositions are anything but garden-variety beliefs. The second concerns theoretical fruitfulness: we show that embracing a No-Belief view will either get us in serious theoretical trouble, or loose all anti-sceptical appeal. (shrink)
What is the normative role of knowledge? I argue that knowledge plays an important role as a norm of assertion and action, which is explained and unified by its more fundamental role as a norm of belief. Moreover, I propose a distinctive account of what this normative role consists in. I argue that knowledge is the aim of belief, which sets a normative standard of correctness and a corresponding normative standard of justification. According to my proposal, it is correct to (...) believe, assert and act on a proposition if and only if one is in a position to know it, but one has justification to believe, assert and act on a proposition if and only if one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know it. (shrink)
Norms are a pervasive yet mysterious feature of social life. In Explaining Norms, four philosophers and social scientists team up to grapple with some of the many mysteries, offering a comprehensive account of norms: what they are; how and why they emerge, persist and change; and how they work.
This paper addresses a central positive claim in Matti Eklund’s Choosing Normative Concepts: that a certain kind of metaphysically ambitious realist about normativity – the ardent realist – is committed to the metasemantic idea that the distinctive inferential role of normative concepts suffices to fix the extension of those concepts. I argue first that commitment to this sort of inferential role metasemantic view does nothing to secure ardent realism. I then show how the ardent realist can address Eklund’s leading (...) challenge without appeal to distinctively metasemantic commitments. (shrink)
Normative Externalism argues that it is not important that people live up to their own principles. What matters, in both ethics and epistemology, is that they live up to the correct principles: that they do the right thing, and that they believe rationally. This stance, that what matters are the correct principles, not one's own principles, has implications across ethics and epistemology. In ethics, it undermines the ideas that moral uncertainty should be treated just like factual uncertainty, that moral ignorance (...) frequently excuses moral wrongdoing, and that hypocrisy is a vice. In epistemology, it suggests we need new treatments of higher-order evidence, and of peer disagreement, and of circular reasoning, and the book suggests new approaches to each of these problems. Although the debates in ethics and in epistemology are often conducted separately, putting them in one place helps bring out their common themes. One common theme is that the view that one should live up to one's own principles looks less attractive when people have terrible principles, or when following their own principles would lead to riskier or more aggressive action than the correct principles. Another common theme is that asking people to live up to their principles leads to regresses. It can be hard to know what action or belief complies with one's principles. And now we can ask, in such a case should a person do what they think their principles require, or what their principles actually require? Both answers lead to problems, and the best way to avoid these problems is to simply say people should follow the correct principles. (shrink)
This chapter develops a contextualist account of normative language, focusing on broadly normative readings of modal verbs. The account draws on a more general framework for implementing a contextualist semantics and pragmatics, Discourse Contextualism. The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the discourse properties of normative language from a contextualist interpretation of an independently motivated formal semantics, along with principles of interpretation and conversation. In using normative language, interlocutors can exploit their grammatical and world knowledge, and general pragmatic reasoning (...) skills, to manage an evolving system of norms. Discourse Contextualism provides a perspicuous framework for further philosophical theorizing about the nature of normativity, normative language, and normative judgment. Delineating these issues can help refine our understanding of the space of overall theories and motivate more fruitful ways the dialectics may proceed. Discourse Contextualism provides a linguistic basis for a more comprehensive theory of normativity and normative discourse and practice. (shrink)
A growing body of research has examined how people judge the persistence of identity over time—that is, how they decide that a particular individual is the same entity from one time to the next. While a great deal of progress has been made in understanding the types of features that people typically consider when making such judgments, to date, existing work has not explored how these judgments may be shaped by normative considerations. The present studies demonstrate that normative beliefs do (...) appear to play an important role in people's beliefs about persistence. Specifically, people are more likely to judge that the identity of a given entity remains the same when its features improve than when its features deteriorate. Study 1 provides a basic demonstration of this effect. Study 2 shows that this effect is moderated by individual differences in normative beliefs. Study 3 examines the underlying mechanism, which is the belief that, in general, various entities are essentially good. Study 4 directly manipulates beliefs about essence to show that the positivity bias regarding essences is causally responsible for the effect. (shrink)
To ascribe a telos is to ascribe a norm or standard of performance. That fact underwrites the plausibility of, say, teleological theories of mind. Teleosemantics, for example, relies on the normative character of teleology to solve the problem of “intentional inexistence”: a misrepresentation is just a malfunction. If the teleological ascriptions of such theories to natural systems, e.g., the neurological structures of the brain, are to be literally true, then it must be literally true that norms can exist independent of (...) intentional and psychological agency. Davies, for one, has argued that such norms are impossible within a naturalistic worldview. Consequently, teleological theories of mind, for example, cannot be literally true. I will show, however, that the truth conditions on normative statements do not presuppose intentional and psychological agency and, further, that a selectional regime is one naturalistic mechanism that satisfies those truth conditions. Norms, then, exist in the world independent of intentional and psychological agency. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. This very general characterization gives rise to a whole family of positions. I argue that not all of them are stable. The main argument in the paper is inspired by considerations known as the “collapse problem”, and it aims at the most popular form of logical pluralism advocated by JC Beall and Greg Restall. I argue that there is a more general argument available that challenges all variants (...) of logical pluralism that meet the following three conditions: that there are at least two correct logical systems characterized in terms of different consequence relations, that there is some sort of rivalry among the correct logics, and that logical consequence is normative. The hypothesis I argue for amounts to conditional claim: If a position satisfies all these conditions, then that position is unstable in the sense that it collapses into competing positions. (shrink)
Fine and Rosen have argued that normative necessity is distinct from and weaker than metaphysical necessity. The first aim of this paper is to specify what it would take for this view to be true—that is, what normative necessity would have to be like. The author argues that in order for normative necessity to be weaker than metaphysical necessity, the metaphysical necessities must all be preserved under every counterfactual antecedent with which they are all collectively logically consistent—even when their preservation (...) requires that a normative necessity fail to be preserved. By exhibiting some examples that fail to display this pattern of counterfactual invariance, the author argues against the view that normative necessity is weaker than metaphysical necessity. To give this argument is the second aim of this paper. (shrink)
John Gibbons presents an original account of epistemic normativity. Belief seems to come with a built-in set of standards or norms. One task is to say where these standards come from. But the more basic task is to say what those standards are. In some sense, beliefs are supposed to be true. Perhaps they’re supposed to constitute knowledge. And in some sense, they really ought to be reasonable. Which, if any of these is the fundamental norm of belief? The (...) book argues against the teleological or instrumentalist conception of rationality that sees being reasonable as a means to our more objective aims, either knowledge or truth. And it tries to explain both the norms of knowledge and of truth in terms of the fundamental norm, the one that tells you to be reasonable. The importance of being reasonable is not explained in terms of what it will get you, or what you think it will get you, or what it would get you if only things were different. The requirement to be reasonable comes from the very idea of what a genuine requirement is. That’s where the built-in standards governing belief come from, and that’s what they are. (shrink)
This paper criticizes two accounts of the normativity of practical principles: the empiricist account and the rationalist or realist account. It argues against the empiricist view, focusing on the Humean texts that are usually taken to be its locus classicus. It then argues both against the dogmatic rationalist view, and for the Kantian view, through a discussion of Kant's own remarks about instrumental rationality in the second section of the Groundwork. It further argues that the instrumental principle cannot stand (...) alone. Unless there are normative principles directing us to the adoption of certain ends, there can be no requirement to take the means to our ends. The familiar view that the instrumental principle is the only requirement of practical reason is incoherent. (shrink)
We argue that there are three norms of critical discussion in stark relief in Republic I. The first we see in the exchange with Cephalus---that we interpret each other and contribute to discussions in a maximally argumentative fashion. The second we seein the exchange with Polemarchus---that in order to cooperate in dialectic, interlocutors must maintain a distance between themselves and the theses they espouse. This way they can subject the views to serious scrutiny without the risk of personal loss. Third, (...) and finally, from Socrates’ exchange with Thrasymachus, it is clear that uncooperative discussants must be handled in a fashion that reinforces the goals of dialectic. So Thrasymachus is refuted and silenced not just for the sake of correcting his definition of justice, but also for the sake of those listening. (shrink)
This research proposes and tests a new theoretical mechanism to account for a portion of the motherhood penalty in wages and related labor market outcomes. At least a portion of this penalty is attributable to discrimination based on the assumption that mothers are less competent and committed than other types of workers. But what happens when mothers definitively prove their competence and commitment? In this study, we examine whether mothers face discrimination in labor-market-type evaluations even when they provide indisputable evidence (...) that they are competent and committed to paid work. We test the hypothesis that evaluators discriminate against highly successful mothers by viewing them as less warm, less likable, and more interpersonally hostile than otherwise similar workers who are not mothers. The results support this “normative discrimination” hypothesis for female but not male evaluators. The findings have important implications for understanding the nature and persistence of discrimination toward mothers. (shrink)
Normative judgments involve two gradable features. First, the judgments themselves can come in degrees; second, the strength of reasons represented in the judgments can come in degrees. Michael Smith has argued that non-cognitivism cannot accommodate both of these gradable dimensions. The degrees of a non-cognitive state can stand in for degrees of judgment, or degrees of reason strength represented in judgment, but not both. I argue that (a) there are brands of noncognitivism that can surmount Smith’s challenge, and (b) any (...) brand of non-cognitivism that has even a chance of solving the Frege–Geach Problem and some related problems involving probabilistic consistency can also thereby solve Smith’s problem. Because only versions of non-cognitivism that can solve the Frege–Geach Problem are otherwise plausible, all otherwise plausible versions of noncognitivism can meet Smith’s challenge. (shrink)
Encyclopedia entry covering the growing literature on the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (and its rivals), the Knowledge Norm of Action (and pragmatic encroachment), the Knowledge Norm of Belief, and the Knowledge Norm of Disagreement.
The concepts we use to value and prescribe are historically contingent, and we could have found ourselves with others. But what does it mean to say that some concepts are better than others for purposes of action-guiding and deliberation? What is it to choose between different normative conceptual frameworks?
Normativity and the Will collects fourteen important papers on moral psychology and practical reason by R. Jay Wallace, one of the leading philosophers currently working in these areas. The papers explore the interpenetration of normative and psychological issues in a series of debates that lie at the heart of moral philosophy. Themes that are addressed include reason, desire, and the will; responsibility, identification, and emotion; and the relation between morality and other normative domains. Wallace's treatments of these topics are (...) at once sophisticated and engaging. Taken together, they constitute an advertisement for a distinctive way of pursuing issues in moral psychology and the theory of practical reason, and they articulate and defend a unified framework for thinking about those issues. The volume also features a helpful new introduction. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether different philosophers’ claims about “normativity” are about the same subject or (as recently argued by Derek Parfit) theorists who appear to disagree are really using the term with different meanings, in order to cast disambiguating light on the debates over at least the nature, existence, extension, and analyzability of normativity. While I suggest the term may be multiply ambiguous, I also find reasons for optimism about a common subject-matter for metanormative theory. This is supported (...) partly by sketching a special kind of hybrid view of normative judgment, perspectivism, that occupies a position between cognitivism and noncognitivism, naturalism and nonnaturalism, objectivism and subjectivism, making it more plausible that radically different metanormative theories could be about the same thing. I explore three main fissures: between (i) the “normativity” of language/thought versus that of facts and properties, (ii) abstract versus substantive senses, and (iii) formal versus robust senses. (shrink)
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