Understanding standing: permission to deflect reasons

Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3109-3132 (2017)
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Standing is a peculiar norm, allowing for deflecting that is rejecting offhand and without deliberation interventions such as directives. Directives are speech acts that aim to give directive-reasons, which are reason to do as the directive directs because of the directive. Standing norms, therefore, provide for deflecting directives regardless of validity or the normative weight of the rejected directive. The logic of the normativity of standing is, therefore, not the logic of invalidating directives or of competing with directive-reasons but of ‘exclusionary permission’. That is, standing norms provide for permission to exclude from practical deliberation directive-reasons if given without the requisite standing, regardless of their normative weight. As such, standing is a type of second-order norm. Numerous everyday practices involve the deflection of directives, such as pervasive practices of deflecting hypocritical and officious directives. Of various possible models, the one that best captures the normative structure of these practices of deflection is the standing model. Accordingly, the normativity of standing is pervasive in our everyday practices. Establishing that standing, although a neglected philosophical idea, is a significant and independent normative concept.
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