CFP: Normative Reasons, Explanation, and Grounding

Submission deadline: January 7, 2024

Conference date(s):
October 24, 2024 - October 25, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Philosophy Department, Bielefeld University
Bielefeld, Germany

Topic areas


Call for abstracts

Workshop: Normative Reasons, Explanation, and Grounding

Bielefeld University, 24-25 October 2024

Confirmed speakers:

Selim Berker (Harvard)

John Broome (Oxford)

Stephanie Leary (McGill)

Olle Risberg (Uppsala)

Eva Schmidt (Dortmund)

The concept of a normative reason is often taken to be one of the key concepts to understanding normativity. Normative reasons, i.e., the factors that count in favor of (or against) actions or attitudes, are distinguished from the very general class of explanatory reasons or reasons why something is the case. The relationship between normative and explanatory reasons is, however, a matter of controversial discussion in the theory of normative reasons. This debate concerns explanations of normative facts and therefore non-causal explanatory reasons. In contemporary metaphysics, the concept of grounding has shaped the study of non-causal explanatory reasons. Thus, theories of grounding might help us better understand normative reasons and their relation to explanatory reasons in the normative domain, or more generally, the structure of normativity. 

This conference will focus on questions concerning the relationship between normative and explanatory reasons (with a particular focus on grounds), such as the following: 

·      Can the normative reasons relation be analyzed in terms of an explanation relation and some other normative notion, and how?

·      What work can a theory of ground do for approaches that take reasons facts to be (normatively) fundamental? Are reasons facts grounded or ungrounded? Can all normative facts be grounded in reasons facts? 

·      Which ground-theoretic questions arise for non-naturalistic and naturalistic approaches that take reasons to be normatively fundamental? 

·      What role do relations of ground play for distinctions within the domain of normative reasons, for example, between genuine and derivative normative reasons, and between practical and epistemic normative reasons? 

·      Is there a distinctive normative form of explanation (or even a normative grounding relation), and how is it related to normative reasons?

·      Are there any structural features of grounding that make its application inapt for certain meta-normative purposes? 

There is a small number of slots available for contributions that will be selected from an open call for abstracts. Please send your abstract, prepared for blind refereeing, as a PDF file to singa [dot] behrens [at] (subject: ‘Normative Reasons’). Your abstract should be 500-1,000 words (including notes but excluding bibliography). Papers should be suitable for a 40 minutes presentation. The deadline for submissions is January 7, 2024. We encourage Ph.D. students and individuals from underrepresented groups to submit. For those without access to travel funds, we can offer a contribution of up to 300 EUR for accommodation and travelling costs.

This workshop is hosted by the ERC project ‘The Structure of Normativity’ (

Organizers: Benjamin Kiesewetter ([email protected]), Singa Behrens ([email protected]

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)