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Normativity and self-relations

Normativity and self-relations
Normativity and self-relations
The paper criticizes two prominent accounts which purport to explain normativity by appealing to some relation that one bears to oneself. Michael Bratman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would fail to govern oneself. And David Velleman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would be less intelligible to oneself. Both Bratman and Velleman argue in quite different ways that rational coherence is normative because it is necessary for the instantiation or promotion of the independently normative self-relation they invoke. But the paper presents a similar scenario which arguably exposes a failure of extensional adequacy common to both accounts: one can instantiate the self-relation in question without being formally coherent. A brief diagnosis is offered for why two such different accounts turn out to be vulnerable to a similar counterexample, suggesting that other accounts which appeal to self-relations in a broadly similar way might also suffer from the problem identified here.
normativity, rationality, instrumental rationality, self-governance, self-intelligibility
0031-8116
Levy, Yair
458644e7-8388-45f5-8e43-ea7e193997a2
Levy, Yair
458644e7-8388-45f5-8e43-ea7e193997a2

Levy, Yair (2014) Normativity and self-relations. Philosophical Studies, 168 (2). (doi:10.1007/s11098-014-0307-y).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The paper criticizes two prominent accounts which purport to explain normativity by appealing to some relation that one bears to oneself. Michael Bratman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would fail to govern oneself. And David Velleman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would be less intelligible to oneself. Both Bratman and Velleman argue in quite different ways that rational coherence is normative because it is necessary for the instantiation or promotion of the independently normative self-relation they invoke. But the paper presents a similar scenario which arguably exposes a failure of extensional adequacy common to both accounts: one can instantiate the self-relation in question without being formally coherent. A brief diagnosis is offered for why two such different accounts turn out to be vulnerable to a similar counterexample, suggesting that other accounts which appeal to self-relations in a broadly similar way might also suffer from the problem identified here.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 5 March 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 March 2014
Keywords: normativity, rationality, instrumental rationality, self-governance, self-intelligibility
Organisations: Philosophy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368432
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368432
ISSN: 0031-8116
PURE UUID: dae6fa79-8c3f-4b7a-b94f-35a8c20e5b6e

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Date deposited: 13 Sep 2014 12:37
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 21:04

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Author: Yair Levy

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