Norm-expressivism and regress

South African Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):362-376 (2017)
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This paper aims to investigate Allan Gibbard’s norm-expressivist account of normativity. In particular, the aim is to see whether Gibbard’s theory is able to account for the normativity of reason-claims. For this purpose, I first describe how I come to targeting Gibbard’s theory by setting out the main tenets of quasi-realism cum expressivism. After this, I provide a detailed interpretation of the relevant parts of Gibbard’s theory. I argue that the best reading of his account is the one that takes normativity to be carried by a controlled, coherent, comprehensive set of norms. Finally, I present a potential obstacle to Gibbard’s approach: the regress problem. The idea is to examine the structure of the non-cognitive state expressed and find it inadequate due to the possibility of an infinite regress in the justification of the norms whose acceptance it contains. I then end the paper with some concluding remarks.

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Attila Tanyi
University of Tromsø


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