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Normativity and Reason-Dependence: A Comment on the Nature of Reasons

Lecture by George Pavlakos (Antwerp and Glasgow) organized by the Department of Ethics

Over the past few years Joseph Raz has been developing, in a series of articles that are soon to be collected into a book, a fresh account of normativity and reasons. What is striking in his account is that it combines ideas from constructivist, realist and rationalist accounts of reasons, without buying into the more robust and controversial claims of such accounts, claims that usually undermine the possibility of dialogue between them.

I believe this in itself to be a most valuable contribution at a time in which ‘ – isms’ do tend to take over as shortcuts to detailed philosophical argument.

In my discussion, I shall focus on a number of key issues surrounding the nature of reasons and normativity and the relation of either of those to Reason, which are raised in chapters 2 and 5 of J Raz’s forthcoming book From Normativity to Responsibility. I shall proceed, first, by spelling out the distinct challenge normativity poses to us and then discussing the normativity/explanation nexus, which Raz uses to demonstrate the demands of normativity. In a further step, I will turn to discuss the moves Raz makes to meet the demands of normativity. This will lead to a full-blown critique of Raz’s conception of Reason (as the locus of our rational reflective capacities) and the related accounts of reasons and normativity that are supported by it. Finally, by contrasting his conception of Reason to a more comprehensive one, I shall try to cast light on a number of other aspects in his account of reasons and normativity.

George Pavlakos is Research Professor in Globalisation and Legal Theory at the University of Antwerp. He also holds the chair in Globalisation and Legal Theory at the School of Law, University of Glasgow. His published work is mainly in the area of legal theory and philosophy and includes several edited collections and monographs on Our Knowledge of the Law (Hart Publishing) and Rechtsontologie und praktische Vernunft (Nomos Verlag) as well as numerous articles in journals and edited volumes. He is general editor of the book series Law and Practical Reason and general co-editor of the journal Jurisprudence. George is currently working on a project on he Constitution of Globalisation which aims to arrive at a comprehensive theory of principles of political morality for global governance by combining legal doctrine with legal theory supported by a large Odysseus Grant from FWO.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Oude Boteringestraat 52, room omega

Laatst gewijzigd:11 januari 2013 15:06