To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The introduction summarizes overall argument unfolding through the six main chapters of the book and provides basic motivation for pursuing the pragmatist considerations of the volume. It emphasizes that the concept of truth may seem to have become seriously threatened in our culture - especially due to familiar political events and the active use of the social media today. As pragmatism, particularly Jamesian pragmatism, might be considered partly responsible for these developments, a novel critical exploration of pragmatist resources for dealing with the issues concerning the responsible pursuit of truth across a wide range of human practices is needed. The introduction also offers preliminary reasons why the argument of the book moves through a rather complex discussion of Kantian transcendental philosophy (and transcendental pragmatism) instead of merely "directly" utilizing the classical pragmatists' views on truth as such.
Our practices of pursuing the truth and engaging in ethical or existential commitments, analyzed from a pragmatist perspective in the previous chapters, are inherently normative. This chapter considers the transcendental question concerning the very possibility of normativity - that is, the possibility of our engaging in the normative practices we do engage in, including practices of truth-seeking presupposing individual ethical sincerity - from the point of view of a pragmatist transcendental philosophy (as developed in the earlier chapters). It is suggested that such a transcendental question about normativity belongs to philosophical anthropology, as it examines the most basic aspects of the human condition. It is argued that no contingent and naturalizable matters of fact, such as psychological acts of recognition, can adequately ground the possibility of normativity in the transcendental sense. A pragmatist commitment to sincerity thus also entails a commitment to irreducible (but not therefore mystical or supernatural) normativity. A pragmatic and transcendental form of humanism emerges as the only way of making sense of normativity in our lives and practices.
Recent studies have observed that in Grotius’ legal doctrine the intellectual ambition to create a universal rule of law (natural law) coexists with a distinctively ‘modern’ use of the vocabulary of individual rights (natural rights). In this chapter, I argue that a more careful reading of Grotius’ engagement with the Aristotelian tradition might cast new light on this traditional dichotomy, and expand our understanding of Grotius’ theory of justice. Famously, Grotius relies on the Aristotelian notion of virtue ethics to introduce the concept of aptitude, which designs a more generic account of merit and moral fitness rather than a strict, enforceable legal claim. Far from being discarded as a ‘minor’ or ‘deficient’ source of right, aptitude plays a fundamental role in this context. Through his reading and translating of the Aristotelian commentator Michael of Ephesus, I will show how Grotius’ thin conception of right as aptitude and fitness provides his natural law doctrine with a heuristic requirement for right reason.
It is commonly believed that populist politics and social media pose a serious threat to our concept of truth. Philosophical pragmatists, who are typically thought to regard truth as merely that which is 'helpful' for us to believe, are sometimes blamed for providing the theoretical basis for the phenomenon of 'post-truth'. In this book, Sami Pihlström develops a pragmatist account of truth and truth-seeking based on the ideas of William James, and defends a thoroughly pragmatist view of humanism which gives space for a sincere search for truth. By elaborating on James's pragmatism and the 'will to believe' strategy in the philosophy of religion, Pihlström argues for a Kantian-inspired transcendental articulation of pragmatism that recognizes irreducible normativity as a constitutive feature of our practices of pursuing the truth. James himself thereby emerges as a deeply Kantian thinker.
This chapter takes up the question of what we must understand the world to be like if we regard moral judgments, or more generally normative judgments about how we ought to think or act, as not merely expressing attitudes of approval and disapproval, but instead as fundamentally aiming to get it right, to embody knowledge of how we should indeed comport ourselves. Then how are reasons for belief and action, which are thus the central object of their knowledge-claims, to be understood? What does it mean to say, what is entailed by saying, that they exist? This question is pursued by examining the writings of Derek Parfit and T. M. Scanlon. Both hold that normative judgments are true or false and are thus able to embody knowledge of the reasons there are. Yet both recoil from following through on the ontological implications of their views. Both fail to acknowledge the metaphysics that the objective existence of reasons really entails and that this chapter goes on to sketch.
In this book, Charles Larmore develops an account of morality, freedom, and reason that rejects the naturalistic metaphysics shaping much of modern thought. Reason, Larmore argues, is responsiveness to reasons, and reasons themselves are essentially normative in character, consisting in the way that physical and psychological facts - facts about the world of nature - count in favor of possibilities of thought and action that we can take up. Moral judgments are true or false in virtue of the moral reasons there are. We need therefore a more comprehensive metaphysics that recognizes a normative dimension to reality as well. Though taking its point of departure in the analysis of moral judgment, this book branches widely into related topics such as freedom and the causal order of the world, textual interpretation, the nature of the self, self-knowledge, and the concept of duties to ourselves.
The aim of this chapter is to arrive at an understanding of Fichte’s metaethics that integrates two parallel accounts of what he variously called the “instinct of reason” (in the Wissenschaftslehre nova method lectures, 1796–1798) and our “moral nature” (in the System of Ethics of 1798). The chapter first characterizes Fichte’s metaethics as theoretical (i.e., not directly concerned with practical deliberation or action) and idealist (i.e., as avoiding both naturalist and supernaturalist metaphysics along with causal explanation in general). While it is accurate to label Fichte’s approach “transcendental,” the chapter argues that both accounts ultimately introduce a theological element, namely, the idea of God. The role of God turns out to be a “necessary idea” within Fichte’s genetic explanation of our moral nature, without reducing to any form of supernaturalist metaphysics.
This Element presents an interpretation and defence of Philippa Foot's ethical naturalism. It begins with the often neglected grammatical method that Foot derives from an interpretation of Ludwig Wittgenstein's later philosophy. This method shapes her approach to understanding goodness as well as the role that she attributes to human nature in ethical judgment. Moral virtues understood as perfections of human powers are central to Foot's account of ethical judgment. The thrust of the interpretation offered here is that Foot's metaethics takes ethical judgment to be tied to our self-understanding as a sort of rational animal. Foot's metaethics thereby offers a compelling contemporary approach that preserves some of the best insights of the Aristotelian tradition in practical philosophy.
This introductory chapter motivates and sketches the book’s approach. The chapter identifies the heart of the problem that the judgment of taste poses in terms of its apparent presumptuousness in demanding pleasure. Many scholars read Kant’s Critique of Judgment as adumbrating an account of the aesthetic that has little connection with our actual aesthetic experiences or with our ways of explaining and supporting aesthetic judgments. Among art historians, critics, and theorists, Kant is regarded as the source of a distorting notion of the aesthetic that chooses affect or pleasure over meaning. For example, Kantian aesthetics is widely taken to entail a specific approach to art criticism, viz. a narrow formalism. My interpretation aims to show that the judgment of taste is a contentful engagement with an object the terms of which are not specifiable in advance. To enter a judgment of taste is to expose one’s sense of what matters. This is why a risk of presumptuousness is characteristic of the judgment of taste. It is also why the judgment of taste is exemplary of judgment generally
In this chapter, Guido Kreis discusses the key concepts and arguments of Cassirer’s philosophy of mind. Kreis argues that for Cassirer, the mind is non-atomistic in the sense that mental occurrences are always already “symbolically pregnant” with significance. This leads to a functionalist model of the mind, which understands the mind as neither a physical body nor a metaphysical substance but rather the system of our representational contents. On the one hand, Cassirer criticizes the attempts at a physicalistic naturalization of the mental. Kreis considers this critique in view of the normative dimension of judging and the representational content of recollection and memory (when directed against Bertrand Russell). On the other hand, when rejecting the Cartesian mentalistic framework, Cassirer argues that thoughts are always bound to their expression in language, and as such have a natural place in the social sphere. According to Kreis, this leads to a notion of nature that leaves room for normativity and representational content, or to Cassirer’s understanding of “objective spirit.”
As Socrates famously noted, there is no more important question than how we ought to live. The answer to this question depends on how the reasons that we have for living in various different ways combine and compete. To illustrate, suppose that I've just received a substantial raise. What should I do with the extra money? I have most moral reason to donate it to effective charities but most self-interested reason to spend it on luxuries for myself. So, whether I should live my life as I have most moral reason to live it or as I have most self-interested reason to live it depends on how these and other sorts of reasons combine and compete to determine what I have most reason to do, all things considered. This Element seeks to figure out how different sorts of reasons combine and compete to determine how we ought to live.
Schauer discusses normative positivism, explaining that this type of positivism comes in two main versions, namely, in the shape of a prescription to legal actors and in the shape of a prescription to legal institutional designers. He argues that a full appreciation of the artefactual nature of law leads to the conclusion that a culture can modify its concept of law in order to make it as useful a concept as possible, and that if normative positivism is a plausible position, it follows not only that choosing a concept of law on moral grounds is a moral position but also that choosing to see the enterprise of legal theory in a normative way itself amounts to a normative position.
The duty to obey juristic injunctions in Islamic law is often assumed to follow a simple model: God commands, the jurists discover the meaning of those commands, and the faithful follow the jurists’ interpretation. By examining the arguments advanced by some prominent classical Islamic jurisprudes in support of the claims for law's normativity, I show that the jurists saw themselves as representatives of their communities in the quest to formulate opinions about actions in a way that is faithful to revelation. This model can be summarized as follows: (1) the jurists, by virtue of their knowledge, inform individuals of how to act according to revelation; (2) the pronouncement of a jurist who is knowledgeable and fair may be followed without revisiting their justifications; (3) everyone has a duty to act according to revelation and to rebuke those who do not. A reasonable individual should be motivated to follow juristic pronouncements when all these conditions are present. My main claim is that the basic model wherein God is an authoritative commander and the jurists are informants is unsatisfactory. The jurists saw themselves as more than mere discoverers and informers. This Islamic model has unique features when it comes to understanding authority in general. The uniform commitment to a formal moral source, coupled with the contingent nature of the robust reasons given by the system, make the Islamic model distinct from some modern accounts. The Islamic model offers a view of legal authority that is specific to a cohesive community that shares a basic moral commitment. This model fits the classical need for a theory of authority that is both persuasive and authoritative.
I argue against Harbin's claim that aesthetic judgements, for Kant, are not normative. By focusing on the systematic nature of Kant's Critical philosophy, I show that aesthetic judgements, like judgements in the theoretical and practical domains, must be normative, though such judgements display a distinct kind of normativity, which is expressed in their subjectivity, indeterminacy, and affectivity.
I respond to Dunn's claim that aesthetic judgements must be normative for Kant by (I) clarifying my position: it is not the case that on my account the strength of the feeling of pleasure implies that others should agree with my judgement; instead, the disinterestedness of the feeling is the basis for agreement, (II) arguing against the claim that Kant's broader system requires normative judgements of taste, and (III) arguing against the suggestion that any operation of a faculty in accordance with a principle is normative.
This paper extracts and articulates the account of normativity in Plato’s Philebus. Central to this account is the concept of measure, which plays both an ontological and a normative role. With regard to the former, measure is what makes particular things to be the specific kind of thing they are; with regard to the latter, measure supplies the appropriate standard for determining whether or not those things are good or bad instances of their kind. As a result of measure playing these two roles, normative evaluation is grounded in the ontological structure of the thing being evaluated.
Two main themes of the disicipline of international law, namley its theory of subjects of international law and the concept of sources of international law form the core of this chapter. Respective views of Hobbes and Leibniz on these two themes are analysed and compared. The continuing influence of Hobbesian and Leibnizian ideas on these two topics is also analysed. It is argued that the theory of subjects of international law with the central role of the state and the objective definitional approach to the concept of the state is fundamentally Hobbesian. The concept of sources of international law appears at the surface more Leibnizian. However, the Leibnizian heritage was striped of its foundation and thus distorted. As a result, international law in its contemporary articulation is an oxymoron. The trasformative future of international law lies in a rethinking of its normativity away from its Hobbesian heritage. However, to be sucessful, such a rethinking should be grounded in a reflection on possible alternative spatial-conceptual foundations one of which is offered by Leibniz.
The investigation of epistemic virtues, such as curiosity, open-mindedness, intellectual courage and intellectual humility is a growing trend in epistemology. An underexplored question in this context is: what is the relationship between these virtues and other types of virtue, such as moral or prudential virtue? This paper argues that, although there is an intuitive sense in which virtues such as intellectual courage and open-mindedness have something to do with the epistemic domain, on closer inspection it is not clear to what extent they should be understood as genuine epistemic virtues. We draw a distinction between epistemic virtues and virtues with epistemic content and provide reason to believe that the aforementioned virtues are moral virtues with epistemic content rather than bona fide epistemic virtues. The upshot is that there are far fewer epistemic virtues out there than commonly assumed.
Virtue epistemology is one of the most flourishing research programmes in contemporary epistemology. Its defining thesis is that properties of agents and groups are the primary focus of epistemic theorising. Within virtue epistemology two key strands can be distinguished: virtue reliabilism, which focuses on agent properties that are strongly truth-conducive, such as perceptual and inferential abilities of agents; and virtue responsibilism, which focuses on intellectual virtues in the sense of character traits of agents, such as open-mindedness and intellectual courage. This volume brings together ten new essays on virtue epistemology, with contributions to both of its key strands, written by leading authors in the field. It will advance the state of the art and provide readers with a valuable overview of what virtue epistemology has achieved.