Weaving the Normative and Non-Normative Together

  • Michael P. Wolf
  • Jeremy Randel Koons


Given that we admit that there are distinct causal-explanatory and normative discourse regions, we owe a story about the interrelations among these discourse regions. We have already denied that that normative discourse receives vertical contributions from a lower-level non-normative discourse, or that normative things are somehow composed of non-normative things (as, say, endocrinological things are composed by chemical things). We wish to urge that the lack of causal-explanatory links between non-normative and normative discourse regions is only problematic if you are in the grip of a certain picture, a picture according to which all discourse is meaningful in virtue of representing facts (hence the moral realist’s attempt to separate moral claims into a fact-stating element and a normative element). We have consistently rejected representationalist assumptions, and with them, the assumption that all language must in the first instance serve some explanatory (particularly causal-explanatory) role, or be explicable in terms of such roles.


Moral Theory Normative Claim Epistemic Norm Normative Discourse Adaptive Preference 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Wolf
    • 1
  • Jeremy Randel Koons
    • 2
  1. 1.Washington, PAUSA
  2. 2.DohaQatar

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