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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. 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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  • Believing in Expressivism.T. Toppinen - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 8.
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  • Constructivism About Reasons.Sharon Street - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3:207-45.
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  • Tempered Expressivism.Mark Schroeder - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics (1).
    The basic idea of expressivism is that for some sentences ‘P’, believing that P is not just a matter of having an ordinary descriptive belief. This is a way of capturing the idea that the meaning of some sentences either exceeds their factual/descriptive content or doesn’t consist in any particular factual/descriptive content at all, even in context. The paradigmatic application for expressivism is within metaethics, and holds that believing that stealing is wrong involves having some kind of desire-like attitude, with (...)
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  • Authoritatively Normative Concepts.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
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  • The Argument From the Persistence of Moral Disagreement.Frank Jackson - 2008 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
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  • The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    Ethical concepts are, or purport to be, normative. They make claims on us: they command, oblige, recommend, or guide. Or at least when we invoke them, we make claims on one another; but where does their authority over us - or ours over one another - come from? Christine Korsgaard identifies four accounts of the source of normativity that have been advocated by modern moral philosophers: voluntarism, realism, reflective endorsement, and the appeal to autonomy. She traces their history, showing how (...)
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  • Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism.David Enoch - 2011 - Oxford University Press UK.
    David Enoch develops, argues for, and defends a strongly realist and objectivist view of ethics and normativity more broadly. This view--according to which there are perfectly objective, universal, moral and other normative truths that are not in any way reducible to other, natural truths--is familiar, but this book is the first in-detail development of the positive motivations for the view into reasonably precise arguments. And when the book turns to defend Robust Realism against traditional objections, it mobilizes the original positive (...)
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  • Against Quietist Normative Realism.Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
    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 (...)
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  • Oughts and Ends.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):315 - 340.
    This paper advances a reductive semantics for ‘ought’ and a naturalistic theory of normativity. It gives a unified analysis of predictive, instrumental, and categorical uses of ‘ought’: the predictive ‘ought’ is basic, and is interpreted in terms of probability. Instrumental ‘oughts’ are analyzed as predictive ‘oughts’ occurring under an ‘in order that’ modifer (the end-relational theory). The theory is then extended to categorical uses of ‘ought’: it is argued that they are special rhetorical uses of the instrumental ‘ought’. Plausible conversational (...)
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  • The Authority of Reason.Stephen Darwall - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (4):583.
    At the time of her death in 1996, Jean Hampton was working on a book on practical reason she had tentatively titled, A Theory of Reasons. The above volume consists of the materials she left, together with useful editorial clues to the state of their relative completeness. Computer file dates make it clear that Hampton was engaged in a significant revision of the text and had gotten as far as Chapter 3 of a nine-chapter book. Revisions of two-thirds of the (...)
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  • Moral Relativism Defended.Gilbert Harman - 1975 - Philosophical Review 84 (1):3-22.
    My thesis is that morality arises when a group of people reach an implicit agreement or come to a tacit understanding about their relations with one another. Part of what I mean by this is that moral judgments - or, rather, an important class of them - make sense only in relation to and with reference to one or another such agreement or understanding. This is vague, and I shall try to make it more precise in what follows. But it (...)
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  • What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
    In this book, T. M. Scanlon offers new answers to these questions, as they apply to the central part of morality that concerns what we owe to each other.
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  • The Reasons That Matter.Stephen Finlay - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):1 – 20.
    Bernard Williams's motivational reasons-internalism fails to capture our first-order reasons judgements, while Derek Parfit's nonnaturalistic reasons-externalism cannot explain the nature or normative authority of reasons. This paper offers an intermediary view, reformulating scepticism about external reasons as the claim not that they don't exist but rather that they don't matter. The end-relational theory of normative reasons is proposed, according to which a reason for an action is a fact that explains why the action would be good relative to some end, (...)
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  • Normativity, Necessity and Tense: A Recipe for Homebaked Normativity.Stephen Finlay - 2010 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 5. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-85.
    Normative concepts have a special taste, which many consider to be proof that they cannot be reductively analyzed into entirely nonnormative components. This paper demonstrates that at least some intuitively normative concepts can be reductively analyzed. I focus on so-called ‘hypothetical imperatives’ or ‘anankastic conditionals’, and show that the availability of normative readings of conditionals is determined by features of grammar, specifically features of tense. Properly interpreted, these grammatical features suggest that these deontic modals are analyzable in terms of conditional (...)
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  • Engaging Reason: On the Theory of Value and Action.Joseph Raz - 1999 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. These essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. Engaging Reason is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
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  • Unbelievable Errors: An Error Theory About All Normative Judgments.Bart Streumer - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Unbelievable Errors defends an error theory about all normative judgements: not just moral judgements, but also judgements about reasons for action, judgements about reasons for belief, and instrumental normative judgements. This theory states that normative judgements are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, but that normative properties do not exist. It therefore entails that all normative judgements are false. -/- Bart Streumer also argues, however, that we cannot believe this error theory. This may seem to be a problem for the theory. (...)
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  • Naturalism and Prescriptivity.Peter Railton - 1989 - Social Philosophy and Policy 7 (1):151.
    Statements about a person's good slip into and out of our ordinary discourse about the world with nary a ripple. Such statements are objects of belief and assertion, they obey the rules of logic, and they are often defended by evidence and argument. They even participate in common-sense explanations, as when we say of some person that he has been less subject to wild swings of enthusiasm and disappointment now that, with experience, he has gained a clearer idea of what (...)
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  • .Steinberg Alex - 2013
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  • Ruling Passions.Simon Blackburn - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (1):122-135.
    Ruling Passions is about human nature. It is an invitation to see human nature a certain way. It defends this way of looking at ourselves against competitors, including rational choice theory, modern Kantianism, various applications of evolutionary psychology, views that enchant our natures, and those that disenchant them in the direction of relativism or nihilism. It is a story centred upon a view of human ethical nature, which it places amongst other facets of human nature, as just one of the (...)
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  • Being Realistic About Reasons.T. M. Scanlon - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    It is often claimed that irreducibly normative truths would have unacceptable metaphysical implications, and are incompatible with a scientific view of the world. The book argues, on the basis of a general account of the relevance of ontological questions, that this claim is mistaken. It is also a mistake to think that interpreting normative judgments as beliefs would make it impossible to explain their connection with action. An agent’s acceptance of a normative judgment can explain that agent’s subsequent action because (...)
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  • Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
    First published in 1903, this volume revolutionized philosophy and forever altered the direction of ethical studies. A philosopher’s philosopher, G. E. Moore was the idol of the Bloomsbury group, and Lytton Strachey declared that Principia Ethica marked the rebirth of the Age of Reason. This work clarifies some of moral philosophy’s most common confusions and redefines the science’s terminology. Six chapters explore: the subject matter of ethics, naturalistic ethics, hedonism, metaphysical ethics, ethics in relation to conduct, and the ideal. Moore's (...)
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  • Thinking How to Live.Allan Gibbard - 2003 - Harvard University Press.
    An original and elegant work of metaethics, this book brings a new clarity and rigor to the discussion of these tangled issues, and will significantly alter the ...
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  • Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives.Philippa Foot - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (3):305-316.
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  • Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):574-576.
    Like much in this book, the title and dust jacket illustration are clever. The first evokes Hume's remark in the Treatise that ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.’ The second, which represents a cross between a dance-step and a clinch, links up with the title and anticipates an example used throughout the book to support its central claims: that Ronnie, unlike Bradley, has a reason to go to a party – namely, that there will (...)
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  • Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome - 2013 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Rationality Through Reasoning_ answers the question of how people are motivated to do what they believe they ought to do, built on a comprehensive account of normativity, rationality and reasoning that differs significantly from much existing philosophical thinking. Develops an original account of normativity, rationality and reasoning significantly different from the majority of existing philosophical thought Includes an account of theoretical and practical reasoning that explains how reasoning is something we ourselves do, rather than something that happens in us Gives (...)
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  • The Conversational Practicality of Value Judgement.Stephen Finlay - 2004 - The Journal of Ethics 8 (3):205-223.
    Analyses of moral value judgements must meet a practicality requirement: moral speech acts characteristically express pro- or con-attitudes, indicate that speakers are motivated in certain ways, and exert influence on others' motivations. Nondescriptivists including Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard claim that no descriptivist analysis can satisfy this requirement. I argue first that while the practicality requirement is defeasible, it indeed demands a connection between value judgement and motivation that resembles a semantic or conceptual rather than merely contingent psychological link. I (...)
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  • Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees (...)
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  • .William P. Banks & Eve A. Isham - 2011
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  • Ethical Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2005 - Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book defends a form of ethical intuitionism, according to which (i) there are objective moral truths; (ii) we know some of these truths through a kind of immediate, intellectual awareness, or "intuition"; and (iii) our knowledge of moral truths gives us reasons for action independent of our desires. The author rebuts all the major objections to this theory and shows that the alternative theories about the nature of ethics all face grave difficulties.
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  • How to Pull a Metaphysical Rabbit Out of an End-Relational Semantic Hat.Nicholas Laskowski - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (4):589-607.
    Analytic reductivism in metaethics has long been out of philosophical vogue. In Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normativity (2014), Stephen Finlay tries to resuscitate it by developing an analytic metaethical reductive naturalistic semantics for ‘good.’ He argues that an end-relational semantics is the simplest account that can explain all of the data concerning the term, and hence the most plausible theory of it. I argue that there are several assumptions that a reductive naturalist would need to make about contextual (...)
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  • Normativity.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 2007 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume Ii. Clarendon Press.
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  • Reasons From Within: Desires and Values.Alan H. Goldman - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Alan H. Goldman argues for the internalist or subjectivist view of practical reasons on the grounds that it is simpler, more unified, and more comprehensible ...
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  • Lecture on Ethics.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 2014 - Wiley-Blackwell.
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  • Ethical Relativity.Edward Westermarck - 1932 - Routledge.
    First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  • The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a book about normativity -- where the central normative terms are words like 'ought' and 'should' and their equivalents in other languages. It has three parts: The first part is about the semantics of normative discourse: what it means to talk about what ought to be the case. The second part is about the metaphysics of normative properties and relations: what is the nature of those properties and relations whose pattern of instantiation makes propositions about what ought to (...)
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  • Normativity.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 2008 - Open Court.
    Goodness -- Goodness properties -- Expressivism -- Betterness relations -- Virtue/kind properties -- Correctness properties (acts) -- Correctness properties (mental states) -- Reasons-for (mental states) -- Reasons-for (acts) -- On some views about "ought" : relativism, dilemmas, means-ends -- On some views about "ought" : belief, outcomes, epistemic ought -- Directives -- Addendum 1: "Red" and "good" -- Addendum 2: Correctness -- Addendum 3: Reasons -- Addendum 4: Reasoning.
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  • Engaging Reason: On the Theory of Value and Action.Joseph Raz - 1999 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press UK.
    Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. These essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. Engaging Reason is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
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  • The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    In The Myth of Morality, Richard Joyce argues that moral discourse is hopelessly flawed. At the heart of ordinary moral judgements is a notion of moral inescapability, or practical authority, which, upon investigation, cannot be reasonably defended. Joyce argues that natural selection is to blame, in that it has provided us with a tendency to invest the world with values that it does not contain, and demands that it does not make. Should we therefore do away with morality, as we (...)
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  • The Authority of Reason.Jean E. Hampton - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    This challenging and provocative book argues against much contemporary orthodoxy in philosophy and the social sciences by showing why objectivity in the domain of ethics is really no different from the objectivity of scientific knowledge. Many philosophers and social scientists have challenged the idea that we act for objectively authoritative reasons. Jean Hampton takes up the challenge by undermining two central assumptions of this contemporary orthodoxy: that one can understand instrumental reasons without appeal to objective authority, and that the adoption (...)
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  • Natural Goodness.Philippa Foot - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
    Philippa Foot has for many years been one of the most distinctive and influential thinkers in moral philosophy. Long dissatisfied with the moral theories of her contemporaries, she has gradually evolved a theory of her own that is radically opposed not only to emotivism and prescriptivism but also to the whole subjectivist, anti-naturalist movement deriving from David Hume. Dissatisfied with both Kantian and utilitarian ethics, she claims to have isolated a special form of evaluation that predicates goodness and defect only (...)
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  • Morality in a Natural World: Selected Essays in Metaethics.David Copp - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    The central philosophical challenge of metaethics is to account for the normativity of moral judgment without abandoning or seriously compromising moral realism. In Morality in a Natural World, David Copp defends a version of naturalistic moral realism that can accommodate the normativity of morality. Moral naturalism is often thought to face special metaphysical, epistemological, and semantic problems as well as the difficulty in accounting for normativity. In the ten essays included in this volume, Copp defends solutions to these problems. Three (...)
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  • Essays in Quasi-Realism.Simon Blackburn - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume collects some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn, one of our leading philosophers, explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgments relate to the world. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism that (...)
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  • In Praise of Desire.Nomy Arpaly & Timothy Schroeder - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Joining the debate over the roles of reason and appetite in the moral mind, In Praise of Desire takes the side of appetite. Acting for moral reasons, acting in a praiseworthy manner, and acting out of virtue are simply acting out of intrinsic desires for the right or the good.
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  • Impassioned Belief.Michael Ridge - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Michael Ridge presents an original expressivist theory of normative judgments--Ecumenical Expressivism--which offers distinctive treatments of key problems in metaethics, semantics, and practical reasoning. He argues that normative judgments are hybrid states partly constituted by ordinary beliefs and partly constituted by desire-like states.
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  • Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
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  • The Authority of Law.Joseph Raz - 1979 - Mind 90 (359):441-443.
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  • What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
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  • Thinking How to Live.D. O. Brink - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):267-272.
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  • Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.Fred Feldman & J. L. Mackie - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (1):134.
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