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Defining Normativity

In Kevin Toh, David Plunkett & Scott Shapiro (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press. pp. 62-104 (2019)

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  1. ‘Ought’-contextualism beyond the parochial.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3099-3119.
    Despite increasing prominence, ‘ought’-contextualism is regarded with suspicion by most metaethicists. As I’ll argue, however, contextualism is a very weak claim, that every metaethicist can sign up to. The real controversy concerns how contextualism is developed. I then draw an oft-overlooked distinction between “parochial” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are those that the speaker, or others in her environment, subscribe to—and “aspirational” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are the objective standards for the relevant domain. However, I argue that neither view (...)
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  • The Authority of Formality.Jack Woods - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    Etiquette and other merely formal normative standards like legality, honor, and rules of games are taken less seriously than they should be. While these standards are not intrinsically reason-providing in the way morality is often taken to be, they also play an important role in our practical lives: we collectively treat them as important for assessing the behavior of ourselves and others and as licensing particular forms of sanction for violations. This chapter develops a novel account of the normativity of (...)
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  • Mere formalities: fictional normativity and normative authority.Daniel Wodak - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):1-23.
    It is commonly said that some standards, such as morality, are ‘normatively authoritative’ in a way that other standards, such as etiquette, are not; standards like etiquette are said to be ‘not really normative’. Skeptics deny the very possibility of normative authority, and take claims like ‘etiquette is not really normative’ to be either empty or confused. I offer a different route to defeat skeptics about authority: instead of focusing on what makes standards like morality special, we should focus on (...)
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  • Practical Commitment in Normative Discourse.Pekka Vayrynen - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
    Many normative judgments play a practical role in our thought. This paper concerns how their practical role is reflected in language. It is natural to wonder whether the phenomenon is semantic or pragmatic. The standard assumption in moral philosophy is that at least terms which can be used to express “thin” normative concepts – such as 'good', 'right', and 'ought' – are associated with certain practical roles somehow as a matter of meaning. But this view is rarely given explicit defense (...)
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  • The Normative, the Practical, and the Deliberatively Indispensable.Andrew Stewart - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-21.
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  • Normativity of Meaning: An Inferentialist Argument.Shuhei Shimamura & Tuomo Tiisala - 2023 - Synthese (4):1-21.
    This paper presents a new argument to defend the normativity of meaning, specifically the thesis that there are no meanings without norms. The argument starts from the observation inferentialists have emphasized that incompatibility relations between sentences are a necessary part of meaning as it is understood. We motivate this approach by showing that the standard normativist strategy in the literature, which is developed in terms of veridical reference that may swing free from the speaker’s understanding, violates the ought-implies-can principle, but (...)
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  • Ethics and the Question of What to Do.Olle Risberg - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (2).
    In this paper I present an account of a distinctive form of ‘practical’ or ‘deliberative’ uncertainty that has been central in debates in both ethics and metaethics. Many writers have assumed that such uncertainty concerns a special normative question, such as what we ought to do ‘all things considered.’ I argue against this assumption and instead endorse an alternative view of such uncertainty, which combines elements of both metaethical cognitivism and non-cognitivism. A notable consequence of this view is that even (...)
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  • Linguistic Mistakes.Indrek Reiland - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (5):2191-2206.
    Ever since the publication of Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, there’s been a raging debate in philosophy of language over whether meaning and thought are, in some sense, normative. Most participants in the normativity wars seem to agree that some uses of meaningful expressions are semantically correct while disagreeing over whether this entails anything normative. But what is it to say that a use of an expression is semantically correct? On the so-called orthodox construal, it is to say (...)
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  • On (Crypto-)Normativity.Marianna Papastephanou - 2021 - Critical Horizons 22 (3):250-271.
    ABSTRACT The present article extracts the normative and the crypto-normative from the polemical contexts in which they have been deployed as charges to study them in their more affirmative dimensions. Polemics increasingly contribute to a disabling dismissal of normativity that ultimately blocks nuanced re-conceptualizations of normative operations. Against this backdrop, the article attempts a first theorization of crypto-normativity as a concept in its own right independently from the Habermasian-Foucauldian polemics that initially framed it. However, instead of emerging as an escape (...)
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  • New Shmagency Worries.Olof Leffler - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (2):121-145.
    Constitutivism explains norms in terms of their being constitutive of agency, actions, or certain propositional attitudes. However, the shmagency objection says that if we can be shmagents – like agents, minus the norm-explaining features of agency – we can avoid the norms, so the explanation fails. This paper extends this objection, arguing that constitutivists about practical norms suffer from it despite their recent attempts to solve it. The standard response to the objection is that it is self-defeating for agents to (...)
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  • Reductivism, Nonreductivism and Incredulity About Streumer’s Error Theory.N. G. Laskowski - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):766-776.
    In Unbelievable Errors, Bart Streumer argues via elimination for a global error theory, according to which all normative judgments ascribe properties that do not exist. Streumer also argues that it is not possible to believe his view, which is a claim he uses in defending his view against several objections. I argue that reductivists and nonreductivists have compelling responses to Streumer's elimination argument – responses constituting strong reason to reject Streumer’s diagnosis of any alleged incredulity about his error theory.
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  • Regulative Rules: A Distinctive Normative Kind.Reiland Indrek - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    What are rules? In this paper I develop a view of regulative rules which takes them to be a distinctive normative kind occupying a middle ground between orders and normative truths. The paradigmatic cases of regulative rules that I’m interested in are social rules like rules of etiquette and legal rules like traffic rules. On the view I’ll propose, a rule is a general normative content that is in force due to human activity: enactment by an authority or acceptance by (...)
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  • Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language By Stephen Finlay.Stephen Finlay - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):99-101.
    This is a short precis of my 2014 book Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, accompanying my Reply to Worsnip, Dowell, and Koehn in the same volume.
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  • Reply to critics.Matti Eklund - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (5):535-561.
    Reply to Stephanie Leary’s, Kris McDaniel’s, Tristram McPherson’s and David Plunkett’s articles on Choosing Normative Concepts (OUP, 2017) in book symposium in Inquiry.
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  • Practical Oomph: A Case for Subjectivism.Matthew Bedke - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):657-677.
    This paper examines the empirical and armchair evidence concerning the practical profiles of normative judgments. It then argues that the theory of normative judgment that best explains these practical profiles is a version of cognitivism: subjectivism. The preferred version says, roughly, i) each normative predicate is conventionally associated with a certain conative attitude, and ii) for S to judge that x has normative status N is for S to judge that x has a property picked out by the conative attitude (...)
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  • Naturalism and normative cognition.Matthew S. Bedke - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):147-167.
    Normative cognition seems rather important, even ineliminable. Communities that lack normative concepts like SHOULD, IS A REASON TO, JUSTIFIES, etc. seem cognitively handicapped and communicatively muzzled. And yet a popular metaethic, normative naturalism, has a hard time accommodating this felt ineliminability. Here, I press the argument against normative naturalism, consider some replies on behalf of normative naturalists, and suggest that a version of sophisticated subjectivism does the best job preserving the importance and ineliminability of the special, normative way of thinking.
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  • The Authoritative Normativity of Fitting Attitudes.R. A. Rowland - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17:108-137.
    Some standards, such as moral and prudential standards, provide genuinely or authoritatively normative reasons for action. Other standards, such as the norms of masculinity and the mafia’s code of omerta, provide reasons but do not provide genuinely normative reasons for action. This paper first explains that there is a similar distinction amongst attitudinal standards: some attitudes (belief, desire) have standards that seem to give rise to genuine normativity; others (boredom, envy) do not. This paper gives a value-based account of which (...)
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  • Normativity and Justice in Resilience Strategies.Jose Carlos Cañizares Gaztelu - 2023 - Dissertation, Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management
    Today, resilience is used in many societal contexts for understanding how things respond to risks and for improving their performance in this regard, having also become a prominent approach for adapting to climate change. Yet, despite the broad appeal of resilience and resilience-based approaches within and outside academia, there are persisting puzzles about how to interpret resilience, its relation to competing concepts and approaches, or its desirability. Some proponents of resilience advise caution with the normative use of the term, noting (...)
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  • Conceptual Ethics and The Methodology of Normative Inquiry.Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 274-303.
    This chapter explores two central questions in the conceptual ethics of normative inquiry. The first is whether to orient one’s normative inquiry around folk normative concepts (like KNOWLEDGE or IMMORAL) or around theoretical normative concepts (like ADEQUATE EPISTEMIC JUSTIFICATION or PRO TANTO PRACTICAL REASON). The second is whether to orient one’s normative inquiry around concepts whose normative authority is especially accessible to us (such as OUGHT ALL THINGS CONSIDERED), or around concepts whose extension is especially accessible to us (such as (...)
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  • Explanatory Pluralism in Normative Ethics.Pekka Väyrynen - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
    Some theorists of normative explanation argue that we can make sense of debates between first-order moral theories such as consequentialism and its rivals only if we understand their explanations of why the right acts are right and the wrong acts are wrong as generative (e.g. grounding) explanations. Others argue that the standard form of normative explanation is, instead, some kind of unification. Neither sort of explanatory monism can account for all the explanations of particular moral facts that moral theorists seek (...)
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  • Normative concepts.Matti Eklund - forthcoming - In David Copp & Connie Rosati (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Metaethics.
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  • Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit.R. A. Rowland - forthcoming - In Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    It is tempting to think that all of normativity, such as our reasons for action, what we ought to do, and the attitudes that it is fitting for us to have, derives from what is valuable. But value-first approaches to normativity have fallen out of favour as the virtues of reasons- and fittingness-first approaches to normativity have become clear. On these views, value is not explanatorily prior to reasons and fit; rather the value of things is understood in terms of (...)
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  • The Unity of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 23-45.
    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. (...)
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  • Consequentialism and the Evaluation of Action qua Action.Andrew Sepielli - forthcoming - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy.
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  • What Makes Normative Concepts Normative.Shawn Hernandez & N. G. Laskowski - forthcoming - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (1).
    When asked which of our concepts are normative concepts, metaethicists would be quick to list such concepts as GOOD, OUGHT, and REASON. When asked why such concepts belong on the list, metaethicists would be much slower to respond. Matti Eklund is a notable exception. In his recent book, Choosing Normative Concepts, Eklund argues by elimination for “the Normative Role view” that normative concepts are normative in virtue of having a “normative role” or being “used normatively”. One view that Eklund aims (...)
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  • Normative Naturalism on Its Own Terms.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 28 (3):505-530.
    Normative naturalism is primarily a metaphysical doctrine: there are normative facts and properties, and these fall into the class of natural facts and properties. Many objections to naturalism rely on additional assumptions about language or thought, but often without adequate consideration of just how normative properties would have to figure in our thought and talk if naturalism were true. In the first part of the paper, I explain why naturalists needn’t think that normative properties can be represented or ascribed in (...)
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  • Resisting Reductive Realism.N. G. Laskowski - 2020 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 15. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 96 - 117.
    Ethicists struggle to take reductive views seriously. They also have trouble conceiving of some supervenience failures. Understanding why provides further evidence for a kind of hybrid view of normative concept use.
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