Non-linguistic Normativity

May 18, 2023

This event is online


  • Universidad Nacional de Córdoba


Rutgers - New Brunswick
John Carroll University
Politecnico di Milano


National University of Córdoba
Universita di Cagliari

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Widespread opinion holds that norms and codes of conduct can only be established via words; that is, in some lexical form. Over the last century, numerous philosophers and jurists subscribed to this view, either implicitly or explicitly. One must admit that norms are peculiar entities and have somewhat unique properties: norms can be formed through language and can equally be erased through words. This perspective on how norms are generated is often accompanied by an ontological argument regarding the inherent nature of norms. The claim that norms are made with words is often interwoven with the idea that they are made of words.

But is it true that norms are exclusively made with words and of words?

Recent investigations on normativity open up a new scenario. For example, the image of norms as entities needing a linguistic framework has recently been challenged by research on animal norms (i.e. norms regulating the behaviour of non-human animals) and by research on graphical norms (i.e. norms that have no linguistic encoding as such, but only a pictorial, visual representation).

This “NormaCtivity Online Workshop” aims to provide an interdisciplinary platform for discussing different recent empirical and philosophical approaches to the problem of normativity beyond a linguistic framework. The workshop will bring together leading philosophers working on non-linguistic normativity, starting from building blocks of normativity, social roots of normativity, primitive varieties of normativity, normative behaviour in non-human animals, and graphical dimensions of normativity, among other things.

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