Events Calendar
Jun 28 - Jun 30
All day
The Future of Normativity
Centre for Practical Normativity conference

The concept of normativity, especially work on reasons, has attracted a great deal of attention in recent philosophy. Work has focused on many interrelated topics and questions such as:

  • Reasons and their Ground: Are reasons based on agents' desires and psychology or on matters external to the agent?
  • Conceptual Priority: Is 'reason' the foundational normative concept, as opposed to 'ought', 'rational', or something else? 
  • Reasons, Motivations and Actions: What is the relation (or relations) between reasons, motivation and action?  There is much focus on prescriptions and demands, but how should we accommodate enticements?
  • Reasons and Values: What is the relation between values and reasons? Is one more fundamental than the other and, if so, why?
  • Reasons and Nature: Are reasons in any relevant sense 'natural', or do we have to give up on naturalism if we are to accommodate the normativity of reasons?
  • The Moral and the Epistemic: A notable feature of recent work on normativity is the focus on, and interaction between, ethics and epistemology, as well as on prudence.  Work by both moral philosophers and epistemologists has increasingly drawn on ideas and arguments in both fields, not only to answer questions within ethics and epistemology, but also to understand normativity more generally.  
  • Normativity elsewhere: there has also been much work in many areas other than ethics and epistemology, framed using the idea of normativity.

The central question we want to ask in this conference is: where do we go from here?

Conference themes

The conference will serve to reflect on much of this recent work in order to extend it in new directions.  

  • Has work in aesthetics or philosophy of action or philosophy of language anything to teach us about normativity? 
  • Does it make sense to think of aesthetic prescriptions, for example, and if so what does reflection on these demands tell us about normativity in general? 
  • Has recent work on group intention and action anything to teach us about normativity and reasons in general? 
  • Are certain, central notions – such as 'standard', 'intention', 'demand' - at all clear enough?
  • How is the notion of normativity understood in recent social or cognitive science literature, including psychology, and does that have anything to teach us?
  • In what ways can debates from the history of philosophy point us towards fruitful future explorations?
  • Is the notion of normativity as important a framing device for thought and debates as current philosophical fashion assumes?  How central to philosophical thought should the notion of 'reason' be?

We see this conference as a landmark event: it will both reflect on where we are and float new ideas for future work. 

Keynote Speakers

  • Alison Hills (Oxford)
  • Clayton Littlejohn (KCL)
  • Errol Lord (Pennsylvania)
  • Peter Railton (Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  • Michael Ridge (Edinburgh)
  • Paulina Sliwa (Cambridge)
  • Michael Smith (Princeton)

Please see the external webpage for the full programme.

Visit the event web page

To book, please see the page: https://kenthospitality.kent.a...


Grimond Building,
University of Kent,
United Kingdom


Open to all,

Prices vary; please see the booking link below.

Contact: Dr Simon Kirchin


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Last Updated: 10/01/2012