Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 9, TT19)

Susan Wolf

Some standards don’t give rise to genuinely normative requirements and ought claims (e.g. old standards of masculinity, the mafia’s omerta, the no snitching code). Other standards do give rise to genuine normativity (e.g. morality and prudence). Attitudes have standards or norms: the standard/norm of admiration is the admirable; the standard/norm of belief is truth. Some of these standards are genuinely normative: we’re at fault in a weighty robustly normative sense if we don’t conform with the norms of admiration, desire, and belief (e.g. if we don’t believe that dinosaurs once roamed the earth; if we admire evil people).
Which standards, including standards of attitudes, give rise to genuine normativity? I give an evaluative account of genuine normativity that ties genuine normativity to the standards that it is non-instrumentally better for us to be guided by and the attitudes that it is non-instrumentally better for us to have. I argue that this evaluative account of normativity avoids problems that alternative accounts face. And that it has attractive implications for the normativity of aesthetics, law, anger, and envy.

Convener: Ed Lamb

Members of the audience are invited to join the speaker and the convener for drinks and dinner at a local restaurant following the talk (at their own expense). There will be some limit on the number of people who can attend. Please RSVP to Ed Lamb to reserve a place. Please note that we will no longer be going to dinner afterwards at Somerville College to continue questioning the speaker. In future terms the time of the seminar may be brought forward to 15.00 - 17.00, which would make it possible for all to go to pre-dinner drinks. Please let Ed Lamb know if this change of time would make you more or less likely to attend.