Normativity Workshop

May 19, 2017
Australian Catholic University

Room 420.2.21A, Lv 2, Mary Glowrey Building
115 Victoria Parade
Fitzroy, Melbourne 3065

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


Garett Cullity
University of Adelaide
University of Reading
Laura Schroeter
University of Melbourne
Francois Schroeter
University of Melbourne
Nicholas Southwood
Australian National University


University of Reading

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A one-day workshop on Normativity @ ACU Melbourne.

Featuring talks by

  • Professor Garrett Cullity (Adelaide) - 'Reasons and Fittingness'
  • Professor Nicholas Southwood (ANU) - 'On the Plurality of Oughts'
  • Dr Laura Schroeter and Dr Francois Schroeter (Melbourne) - 'Keeping Track of What's Right'
  • Dr Richard Rowland (ACU) - 'Skepticism about Reasons to Blame'

This workshop is on Normativity broadly construed involving issues in metaethics, value theory, and ethics more generally . Topics will include, the nature of normativity, the meaning of the normative terms, how we should understand normative properties such as reasons, ought, and fittingness, the relationship between reasons and ought, and whether focussing on the nature of the basic normative properties there are gives us a better graps on what we have reason to do, what we ought to do, or what it is fitting to do.

Some of the papers will be pre-circulated in advance (if you've registered, you will receive the papers a week or so in advance). But speakers will not assume that attendees have read the papers. 

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. For any questions about the event please contact [email protected]

Provisional Programme

10.00 – 10.30 – Tea and Coffee

10.30 – 11.45 – Nicholas Southwood – ‘On the plurality of Oughts’

11.45 – 12.00 – Tea and Coffee

12.00 – 13.15 – Richard Rowland – ‘Skepticism about Reasons to Blame’

13.15 – 14.30 – Lunch (provided by Smith & Deli)

14.30 – 15.45 – Laura Schroeter and Francois Schroeter – ‘Keeping Track of What’s Right’ 

15.45 – 16.15 – Tea and Coffee

16.15 – 17.30 – Garrett Cullity – ‘Reasons and Fittingness’ 

18.00 – 19.30 - Drinks at Grub Food Van, Moor St (Fitzroy)

Selected Abstracts Below

Garrett Cullity - 'Reasons and Fittingness'

According to the “fitting response” tradition of thinking about value, good or bad things are those to which it is fitting to make responses of favour or disfavour, respectively. What is the relationship between the relation of fittingness, so understood, and the relation of being-a-normative-reason-for? One answer is: identity. A second is the reasons-priority view that explains fitting responses as those for which there are reasons of the “right kind”. This paper adds to recent efforts to develop a third, fittingness-priority answer. It defends the view that a normative reason for a response is a consideration that is fittingly included in the thought through which one determines what response one will make. I set out a careful formulation of this proposal, explain its attractions, respond to apparent counterexamples, and address a strong-looking Euthyphro objection: the objection that when a consideration is fittingly included in response-determining thought, that is because it is a reason.

Laura Schroeter and Francois Schroeter - 'Keeping Track of What's Right'

The function of concepts is to allow us to keep track of stable topics in thought. In the past fifteen years or so, the nature of the topics that normative concepts keep track of has become increasingly controversial. In this paper, we argue that core normative concepts have a representational function – they purport to keep track of stable properties or relations in much the same way that natural kind concepts do. We also argue that less central evaluative concepts – such as the concepts expressed by ‘is tasty’ or ‘is dreadful’ – lack this representational function.    

Richard Rowland - 'Skepticism about Reasons to Blame'

This paper argues that although there are non-instrumental reasons to have pro-attitudes and certain con-attitudes there are no non-instrumental reasons to blame. If this view is correct, then although some people are admirable and praiseworthy and some things are desirable and others undesirable, no one is blameworthy. This argument provides a normative case for skepticism about blameworthiness rather than providing what we might call a metaphysical case for skepticism about blameworthiness deriving from skepticism about free will. Accordingly this normative case for skepticism about blameworthiness avoids the problems that skepticism about blameworthiness that derives from skepticism about free will faces. The idea that a non-metaphysically based, normative or evaluative, case for skepticism about blameworthiness might be made is in the air in the recent literature on blame. But such a non-metaphysically-based case for skepticism about blameworthiness has not been made. This paper makes such a case. This paper argues that there is a non-instrumental reason to have a token of attitude type T, only if it is sometimes non-instrumentally better to have a token attitude of type T. But it is never non-instrumentally better to blame others than to not blame others. So, there are no non-instrumental reasons to blame.  

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