Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: On the Varieties of Normativity
Authors: Wodak, Daniel
Advisors: Smith, Michael
Rosen, Gideon
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Some varieties of normativity, like morality, seem to have an authoritative status. Other varieties of normativity, like etiquette, do not seem to have this status. One way to put this idea is that when we know that the dictates of morality and etiquette conflict, we should prioritize the former. Another is that we can know that etiquette requires us to perform some action while knowing that there is no reason to do so, because in these circumstances the requirements of etiquette are trivial or terrible. This work systematically explores the varieties of normativity that are non-authoritative, or “merely formal”. Chapter Two develops the position that we can know that the dictates of standards like morality and etiquette conflict, and make a mistake about what to do by prioritizing the wrong standard. This is a mistake about the status, rather than the contents, of standards. Chapters Three and Four develop my fictionalist account of mere formalities. This ac- count is primarily a positive metaphysical account of what it is for requirements of etiquette and the like to be merely formal, but it is motivated in part by considerations about our attitudes and language. The basic idea behind this fictionalist proposal is that whatever essential feature makes standards like morality authoritative (reasons, values, or what have you), standards like etiquette are merely formal in virtue of having that feature according to the relevant fiction. This account is fairly ecumenical insofar as it only relies on one central resource: a distinc- tion between normative reality and normative fiction. But on metaphysically deflationary views about normativity (like expressivism and quietism) there is no good way of understand- ing that distinction. In Chapters Five and Six I show how this results in serious problems for expressivism and quietism, respectively: they don’t have the resources to explain the continuities and the dissimilarities between standards like morality and etiquette, so they end up with unpalatable commitments about meaning, speakers’ attitudes, and reasons for action.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Wodak_princeton_0181D_11841.pdf700.42 kBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.