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.
KeywordsNormative requirements Reasons Sources Broome
I’d like to thank Andrew Reisner and Sarah Stroud for reading and commenting on various drafts of this paper. I would also like to thank Matthew Scarfone and an anonymous referee from Philosophical Studies for valuable comments.
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