Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 11, pp 2795–2817 | Cite as

Why realists must reject normative quietism

  • Daniel WodakEmail author


The last two decades have seen a surge of support for normative quietism: most notably, from Dworkin (1996, 2011), Nagel (1996, 1997), Parfit (2011a, b) and Scanlon (1998, 2014). Detractors like Enoch (2011) and McPherson (2011) object that quietism is incompatible with realism about normativity. The resulting debate has stagnated somewhat. In this paper I explore and defend a more promising way of developing that objection: I’ll argue that if normative quietism is true, we can create reasons out of thin air, so normative realists must reject normative quietism.


Quietism Realism Reasons Normativity Morality Etiquette 



I would like to thank Jonathan Dancy, Nicholas Laskowski, Sarah McGrath, Tristram McPherson, Philip Pettit, Gideon Rosen, Michael Smith, Jack Woods, and an anonymous referee from Philosophical Studies for their help and feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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