Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 263–283 | Cite as

Against essential normativity of the mental

  • Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen
Article

Abstract

A number of authors have recently developed and defended various versions of ‘normative essentialism’ about the mental, i.e. the claim that propositional attitudes are constitutively or essentially governed by normative principles. I present two arguments to the effect that this claim cannot be right. First, if propositional attitudes were essentially normative, propositional attitude ascriptions would require non-normative justification, but since this is not a requirement of folk-psychology, propositional attitudes cannot be essentially normative. Second, if propositional attitudes were essentially normative, propositional attitude ascriptions could not support normative rationality judgments, which would remove the central appeal of normative essentialism.

Keywords

Philosophy of mind Rationality Normativity 

References

  1. Bealer, G. (1987). The philosophical limits of scientific essentialism. Philosophical Perspectives, 1, 289–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blackburn, S. (1993). Essays in quasi-realism. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Boghossian, P. (2003). The normativity of content. Philosophical Issues, 13, 31–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brandom, R. (1994). Making it explicit. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Broome, J. (1999). Normative requirements. Ratio, 12, 398–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Broome, J. (2005). Does rationality give us reasons? Philosophical Issues, 15, 321–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davidson, D. (1980). Essays on actions and events. Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  8. Davidson, D. (1984). Inquiries into truth and interpretation. Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fine, K. (1994). Essence and modality. Philosophical Perspectives, 8, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fine, K. (1995). Senses of essence. In W. Sinnott-Armstrong (Ed.), Modality, morality, and belief. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gibbard, A. (2005). Truth and correct belief. Philosophical Issues, 15, 338–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hare, R. M. (1952). The language of morals. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hattiangadi, A. (2007). Oughts and thoughts. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Heal, J. (1987). The disinterested search for truth. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1987–8, 97–108.Google Scholar
  15. Kolodny, N. (2005). Why be rational. Mind, 114, 509–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kripke, S. (1980). Naming and necessity. Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Kripke, S. (1982). Wittgenstein on rules and private language. Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Moore, G. E. (1922). The conception of intrinsic value. In Philosophical studies. Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  19. Morris, M. (1992). The good and the true. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Putnam, H. (1975). The meaning of “Meaning”. In H. Putnam (Ed.), Mind, language, and reality. Philosophical Papers, Vol. II. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Shah, N. (2003). How truth governs belief. The Philosophical Review, 112, 447–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shah, N., & Velleman, D. (2005). Doxastic deliberation. The Philosophical Review, 114, 497–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Steglich-Petersen, A. (2006). No norm needed: On the aim of belief. The Philosophical Quarterly, 56, 499–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wedgwood, R. (2002). The aim of belief. Philosophical Perspectives, 15, 267–297.Google Scholar
  25. Wedgwood, R. (2005). How we know what ought to be. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 106, 61–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wedgwood, R. (2006). The normative force of reasoning. Noûs, 40, 660–686.Google Scholar
  27. Wedgwood, R. (2007, forthcoming). The normativity of the intentional. In B. McLaughlin & A. Beckermann (Eds.), The oxford handbook of the philosophy of mind, Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  28. Zangwill, N. (1998). Direction of fit and normative functionalism. Philosophical Studies, 91, 173–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zangwill, N. (2005a). The normativity of the mental. Philosophical Explorations, 8, 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zangwill, N. (2005b). Moral epistemology and the Because Constraint. In J. Dreier (Ed.), Contemporary debates in moral theory. Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Zangwill, N. (2005c). Moore, morality, supervenience, essence, epistemology. American Philosophical Quarterly, 42, 125–130.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PhilosophyUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark

Personalised recommendations