Normative Commitments in Metanormative Theory

In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. New York: Routledge. pp. 193-213 (2018)
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Abstract

First-order normative theories concerning what’s right and wrong, good and bad, etc. and metanormative theories concerning the nature of first-order normative thought and talk are widely regarded as independent theoretical enterprises. This paper argues that several debates in metanormative theory involve views that have first-order normative implications, even as the implications in question may not be immediately recognizable as normative. I first make my claim more precise by outlining a general recipe for generating this result. I then apply this recipe to three debates in metaethics: the modal status of basic normative principles, normative vagueness and indeterminacy, and the determination of reference for normative predicates. In each case I argue that certain views on each issue carry first-order normative commitments, in accordance with my recipe.

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Pekka Väyrynen
University of Leeds

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