Genuine Normativity
Richard Rowland (Australian Catholic University)

November 12, 2019, 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Dianoia Institute of Philosophy, Australian Catholic University

Level 4, 250 Victoria Parade


Australian Catholic University


Any old standard or norm can provide reasons, oughts, and requirements: according to the no-snitching code we have reasons to refrain from telling the police if we are assaulted; according to the norms of mid-20th century US high-society women should not wear white after the start of September; and according to the norms of (old) masculinity, men are required to refrain from crying and are forbidden from wearing mascara. What distinguishes the reasons and requirements of these norms and standards from those provided by moral, prudential, and epistemic standards? Moral, prudential, and epistemic reasons seem to be genuinely normative in a way that the reasons of the no-snitching code and old masculinity are not. This paper proposes a new evaluative account of the distinction between genuine and merely formally normative standards. It argues that this account has substantive and plausible implications for the normativity of legal, aesthetic, and emotional standards. In the course of making these arguments I provide one of the first sustained discussions of the genuine normativity of aesthetic standards and emotions’ standards. And I show that the evaluative account yields a new attractive middle-ground position about the genuine normativity of legal standards.

This is a pre-read seminar. Participants are expected to have read the paper. For a copy of the paper, please email or

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