Normativity: Epistemic and Practical

Publication news

February 25, 2016
by Daniel Whiting

A number of papers emerging from this project have recently been accepted for publication.

Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way’s “What is Good Reasoning?” is to appear in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Here’s the abstract:

  • What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning – both theoretical and practical – according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of good reasoning derive from rational requirements. The second holds that these standards derive from reasons. We argue that these accounts face serious difficulties in correctly distinguishing good from bad reasoning, and in explaining what’s worthwhile about good reasoning. We then propose our alternative account and argue that it performs better on these counts. In the final section, we develop certain elements of the account in response to some possible objections.

In addition, Jonathan and Conor’s jointly authored paper, “Fittingness First”, will be published in Ethics:

  • According to the fitting-attitudes account of value, for X to be good is for it to be fitting to value X. But what is it for an attitude to be fitting? A popular recent view is that it is for there to be sufficient reason for the attitude. In this paper we argue that proponents of the fitting-attitudes account should reject this view and instead take fittingness as basic. In this way they avoid the notorious ‘wrong kind of reason’ problem, and can offer attractive accounts of reasons and good reasoning in terms of fittingness.

Finally, Jonathan’s “Two Arguments for Evidentialism” is to appear in Philosophical Quarterly:

  • Evidentialism is the thesis that all reasons to believe p are evidence for p. Pragmatists hold that pragmatic considerations – incentives for believing – can also be reasons to believe. Nishi Shah, Thomas Kelly and others have argued for evidentialism on the grounds that incentives for belief fail a ‘reasoning constraint’ on reasons: roughly, reasons must be considerations we can reason from, but we cannot reason from incentives to belief. In the first half of the paper, I show that this argument fails: the claim that we cannot reason from incentives is either false or does not combine with the reasoning constraint to support evidentialism. However, the failure of this argument suggests an alternative route to evidentialism. Roughly, reasons must be premises of good reasoning, but it is not good reasoning to reason from incentives to belief. The second half of the paper develops and defends this argument for evidentialism.

 

Publications in Noûs and Philosophical Studies

October 19, 2015
by Conor McHugh

Daniel Whiting’s paper ‘Against Second-Order Reasons’ has been accepted for publication in Noûs. Here is the abstract:

A normative reason for a person to φ is a consideration which favours φing. A motivating reason is a reason for which or on the basis of which a person φs. This paper explores a connection between normative and motivating reasons. More specifically, it explores the idea that there are second-order normative reasons (not) to φ for or on the basis of certain first-order normative reasons. In this paper, I challenge the view that there are second-order reasons so understood. I then show that prominent views in contemporary epistemology are committed to the existence of second-order reasons, specifically, views about the epistemic norms governing practical reasoning and about the role of higher-order evidence. If there are no second-order reasons, those views aremistaken.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Jonathan Way’s paper, ‘If You Justifiably Believe That You Ought to Φ, You Ought to Φ’ has been accepted by Philosophical Studies. Here is the abstract:

In this paper, we claim that, if you justifiably believe that you ought to perform some act, it follows that you ought to perform that act. In the first half, we argue for this claim by reflection on what makes for correct reasoning from beliefs about what you ought to do. Inthe second half, we consider a number of objections to this argument and its conclusion. In doing so, we arrive at another argument for the view that justified beliefs about what you ought to do must be true, based in part on the idea that that the epistemic and practical domains are uniform, in a sense we spell out. We conclude by sketching possible implications of our discussion for the debates over what is wrong with akrasia and pragmatic encroachment on justified belief and knowledge.

Congratulations to Daniel and Jonathan!

Thinking Well, Living Well – Study Day

October 13, 2015
by Daniel Whiting

We will be hosting a Study Day on 12th December 2015. Its title is: ‘Thinking Well, Living Well’.  This event will consist of a series of short talks on themes relating to the project aimed at a non-specialist audience. Each talk will be followed by discussion.

For more information about the Study Day and details of how to register, please visit:

http://www.southampton.ac.uk/lifelonglearning/news/events/2015/12/12-normativity.page

 

Publication in Ethics

August 13, 2015
by Daniel Whiting

Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way’s co-authored paper, ‘Fittingness First’, has been accepted for publication in Ethics.

Here is the abstract:

According to the fitting-attitudes account of value, for X to be good is for it to be fitting to value X. But what is  it for an attitude to be fitting? A popular recent view is that it is for there to be sufficient reason for the attitude. In this paper we argue that proponents of the fitting-attitudes account should reject this view and instead take fittingness as basic. In this way they avoid the notorious ‘wrong kind of reason’ problem, and can offer attractive accounts of reasons and good reasoning in terms of fittingness.

Congratulations to Conor and Jonathan on this success!

 

Full Line-Up for Conference

August 6, 2015
by Jonathan Way

CONFERENCE – Normativity: Epistemic and Practical

8th – 10th September 2015
University of Southampton

Philosophy at Southampton will host a major international conference, as part of the AHRC-funded ‘Normativity: Epistemic and Practical’ project, from Tuesday the 8th to Thursday the 10th of September 2015. This closing conference aims to bring together the three main themes of the project: substantive connections between epistemic and practical norms, explanatory connections between epistemic and practical norms, and meta-normative problems and proposals.

INVITED SPEAKERS

  • Mikkel Gerken (Edinburgh), ‘Recommendations: Where Epistemic Norms of Action and Assertion Meet’
  • Elizabeth Harman (Princeton), ‘Ethics is Hard! So What?’
  • Benjamin Kiesewetter (Humboldt University of Berlin), ‘An Evidence-Relative Account of Reasons’
  • Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way (Southampton), ‘Objectivism and Perspectivism about the Epistemic Ought’
  • David Owens (Reading), ‘Value and Epistemic Normativity’
  • Debbie Roberts (Edinburgh), TBD
  • Karl Schafer (Pittsburgh), ‘Kantian Constitutivism about Reasons: The Priority of Understanding’
  • Mark Schroeder (USC), ‘Perceptual Reasons and Defeat’

SUBMITTED PAPERS

  • Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini (Johns Hopkins), ‘The Aim of Belief and the Aim of Reasoning’
  • Hagit Benbaji (Ben Gurion), ‘Intending and Believing at Will’
  • Chris Howard (Arizona), ‘The Fundamentality of Fit’
  • Stephen Ingram (Sheffield), ‘Epistemology Shmepistemology’
  • Antti Kauppinen (Academy of Finland), ‘Diagnosing Epistemic Norms’
  • Justin Snedegar (St. Andrews), ‘Reasons For and Reasons Against’
  • Jan Willem Wieland (Amsterdam), ‘Norms and Responsibility for Strategic Ignorance’
  • Daniel Wodak (Princeton), ‘An Objectivist’s Guide to Subjective Reasons’

REGISTRATION
This event is free and open to all, but numbers are limited and registration is required. The deadline for registration is 24 August 2015. To register please email sotonnormativity@gmail.com.

CHILDCARE AND ACCESSIBILITY
If you would like information about childcare options or about accessibility, please contact sotonnormativity@gmail.com and we will get back to you.

New podcasts

June 15, 2015
by Conor McHugh

Podcasts of Terence Cuneo’s, Anne Meylan’s, and Michael Ridge’s talks from our third workshop, on meta-normative problems and proposals, are now up on the site.

For all project podcasts, see the Podcasts page.

Cuneo – Destabilizing the Error Theory

Meylan – Reasons-Responsiveness and the Basing Relation

Ridge – Reliability without Relativism

 

Programme for third workshop

June 8, 2015
by Conor McHugh

Epistemic and Practical Normativity: Meta-Normative Problems and Proposals

University of Southampton, Avenue Campus (building 65)
Friday 12th June 2015

09.00-09.30 Tea/coffee

09.30-11.00 Kristoffer Ahstrom-Vij (Kent): “The Costs of Epistemic Realism”.

Response: Genia Schönbaumsfeld (Southampton)

11.00-11.15 Tea/coffee

11.15-12.45 Terence Cuneo (Vermont): “Destabilizing the Error Theory”.

Response: Christopher Cowie (Cambridge)

12.45-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.00 Anne Meylan (Fribourg): “In Defence of Epistemic Chauvinism”.

Response: Luke Elson (Reading)

16.00-16.15 Tea/coffee

16.15-17.45 Michael Ridge (Edinburgh): “Reliability without Relativism”.

Response: Charles Côté-Bouchard (KCL)

Conference CFP

May 14, 2015
by Conor McHugh

CONFERENCE – Normativity: Epistemic and Practical

8th – 10th September 2015

University of Southampton

 

Philosophy at Southampton will host a major international conference, as part of the AHRC-funded ‘Normativity: Epistemic and Practical’ project, from Tuesday the 8th to Thursday the 10th of September 2015. This closing conference aims to bring together the three main themes of the project: substantive connections between epistemic and practical norms, explanatory connections between epistemic and practical norms, and meta-normative problems and proposals.

 

Invited Speakers

Mikkel Gerken (Edinburgh)

Elizabeth Harman (Princeton)

Benjamin Kiesewetter (Humboldt University of Berlin)

David Owens (Reading)

Debbie Roberts (Edinburgh)

Karl Schafer (Pittsburgh)

Mark Schroeder (USC)

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

The conference will include a number of sessions for submitted papers. Selection will be based on blind review of long abstracts (max. 1000 words). If you would like to apply, please submit your abstract, anonymised, to sotonnormativity@gmail.com by the 6th of July. Abstracts should be suitable for a 30-40 minute presentation.

 

We have some funds to contribute to UK travel and accommodation for speakers. Priority will be given to graduate students and unwaged and junior researchers. Since our funds are limited, please apply to your own institutional sources of support in the first instance.

 

REGISTRATION

This event is free and open to all, but numbers are limited and registration is required. To register please email  sotonnormativity@gmail.com.

 

CHILDCARE AND ACCESSIBILITY

If you would like information about childcare options or about accessibility, please contact sotonnormativity@gmail.com and we will get back to you.

Normativity Conference

March 30, 2015
by Daniel Whiting

We are pleased to announce that on 8th-10th September 2015 we will host a three-day international conference which aims to draw together the various themes of the project and to re-consider each in light of the others (see About the Project).

 

The invited speakers are:

In addition, there will be a number of open sessions. A call for papers, and further information about the event, will be circulated soon.