This paper offers two competing accounts of normative requirements, each of which purports to explain why some—but not all—requirements are normative in the sense of being related to normative reasons in some robust way. According to the reasons-sensitive view, normative requirements are those and only those which are sensitive to normative reasons. On this account, normative requirements are second-order statements about what there is conclusive reason to do, in the broad sense of the term. According to the reasons-providing view—which I attribute to John Broome—normative requirements are those and only those which constitute or provide normative reasons. I argue that the reasons-providing view is susceptible to two serious objections. First, the view generates an explanatory gap. Secondly, the view is implausible. I argue that these two objections give us reason to prefer the reasons-sensitive view of normative requirements over the reasons-providing view.
Il existe de nombreuses sources d’exigences. Certaines exigences sont normatives dans la mesure où elles impliquent des affirmations concernant ce que nous avons raison de croire, faire, désirer, etc. À ce titre, les exigences morales sont parmi les meilleures candidates. Si la morale exige que l’on tienne notre promesse, il semble que nous avons une raison de la tenir. Cependant, ce ne sont pas toutes les exigences qui sont normatives en ce sens. Le catholicisme exige que l’on assiste à la messe chaque dimanche. Il ne s’ensuit pas pour autant que nous avons une raison d’y assister. Pourquoi cela? Pourquoi certaines exigences sont normatives en ce sens, mais pas d’autres? En vue de répondre à cette question, je défends la conception reasons-sensitive des exigences normatives, selon laquelle les exigences normatives sont celles et seulement celles qui sont sensibles aux raisons. Par contre, cette conception n’est pas la seule disponible. Selon ce que j’appelle la conception reasons-providing, les exigences normatives sont celles et seulement celles qui fournissent des raisons. Je soutiens que cette conception-ci est vulnérable à deux objections, ce qui nous donne raison de préférer la première.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Rational reasons (under review)
In this paper, I identify two different sources of skepticism about the normativity of rationality. The first is grounded in an apparent inability to identify categorical and universal reasons for rational compliance. The second is grounded in more conceptual considerations. It holds that the view that rationality is normative leads to a reductio. I then offer what I call the reasons-sensitive view of rational requirements—according to which rational requirements are normative verdicts about reasons of rationality—and show how this view thwarts both sources of skepticism about the normativity of rationality.
What's irrational about akrasia?
Rationality and believing in normative dilemmas
According to a common conception, rationality is a source of consistency and coherence requirements governing certain relations among our mental states. On this view, rationality does not require that you have any particular beliefs or intentions. Rather, it requires that your beliefs and intentions be consistent, whatever their content. It is sometimes argued (and often assumed) that one such requirement is the enkratic requirement that you intend to do what you believe you ought to do. In this paper, I argue that there is a tension between this requirement and the common conception of rationality. I show that if the enkratic requirement is a rational requirement, then rationality cannot simply be a source of requirements that govern certain relations among our mental states. If the enkratic requirement is a rational requirement, then there is at least one belief—i.e the belief that you are faced with a normative dilemma—such that if you have it, you are necessarily irrational, regardless of any other propositional attitude that you may hold. I end by suggesting that this gives us reason to reject the enkratic requirement as requirement of rationality.
Deontic modality and conversational implicature
It is often assumed in the literature on normativity that there is a close connection between what someone is normatively required to do, and what someone ought to do. Many philosophers express this relation using a bi-conditional, such that one is normatively required to do something just in case one ought to do it. This common and natural understanding of the relation between normative requirements and oughts has recently come under attack. Some philosophers argue that the notion of a normative requirement is modally stronger than the notion of an ought. That is, they argue that while you always ought to do what you are normatively required to do, it is generally not the case that you are normatively required to do what you ought to do. In the following paper, I focus on a particular kind of argument for this view that appeals to conversational implicature, and I argue that such arguments fail to establish the truth of their conclusion. I end by providing reasons to think that normative requirements and oughts share the same deontic modality.