Talk by Stephen Finlay: Defining Normativity

Title: Defining Normativity

Abstract: This talk seeks to clarify debate over the nature, existence, extension, and analyzability of normativity, by investigating whether different philosophers’ claims are about the same subject or (as argued by Derek Parfit) they are using the terms ‘normative’ and ‘normativity’ with different meanings.  While I suggest the term may be multiply ambiguous, I also find reasons for optimism about a common subject-matter for metanormative theory.  This is supported by sketching a special hybrid view of normative judgment, perspectivism, that occupies a position between cognitivism and noncognitivism, naturalism and nonnaturalism, objectivism and subjectivism.  I explore three main fissures: between (i) the “normativity” of language/thought versus that of facts and properties, (ii) abstract versus substantive, and (iii) formal versus robust normativity.


Also, if anybody is interested in reading the paper in advance, the current draft can be accessed here: <>


Published Oct. 17, 2017 2:34 PM - Last modified Feb. 8, 2018 9:07 AM