Home > mpw, normativity > Bruno Guindon – Two Faces of Normativity

Bruno Guindon – Two Faces of Normativity

September 23, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

You are cordially invited to attend a McGill Philosophy Workshop presented by Bruno Guindon on Monday, September 28 at 2pm in Leacock 927.

The abstract is below.  Snacks will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Best,
Shiloh and Yvan

Bruno Guindon
Two Faces of Normativity

I take it that for reasons-internalists, normative reasons are called normative in virtue of adhering to two putatively necessary conditions: i.e. normative reasons are said to both *guide* and *justify* intentional action. Some reasons-externalists, however, want to deny the guidance condition. They claim that it is perfectly sensible to imagine some normative reasons (e.g. certain moral reasons) that justify intentional action without necessarily having the ability to guide agents. I think that such a position is ultimately untenable. But, as I argue in the following paper, I hold that there is another way for these two conditions to come apart: I take it that some reasons may *guide* intentional action without being *justificatory*. Of course, a natural objection would be to reject the view that such reasons are in fact normative: I take it that the distinction between normative or justifying reasons on the one hand, and explanatory or motivating reasons on the other was supposed to illustrate this very point. We should call these reasons motivating or explanatory rather than normative, so the objection goes. But I want to resist this approach. I suspect this objection is driven by unreflective intuitions about the nature of practical reasons and a fundamental ambiguity in the constitutive principle of the Humean theory of motivation. In the following paper, I wish to present a revision of our current understanding of practical reasons that takes a certain class of reasons as *practical* in the sense that they adhere to a least the *guidance* condition, even if they fail to meet the *justificatory* condition. I will also explain the way in which we can understand such reasons to nevertheless have a certain amount of justificatory power. I suspect further that this is something that the reasons-internalists would embrace.

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