You'd Better Be Committed: Legal Norms and Normativity
American Journal of Jurisprudence
29 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2009 Last revised: 14 Feb 2012
Date Written: August 7, 2009
There are many ways in which one may come to be committed to something. Commitment can be the result of an act of will; it can also be the culmination of some underlying disposition/sensibility. Part of the challenge in articulating our commitment to morality consists in understanding the interaction between its passive (we are all committed to morality just in virtue of being human) and its active (if it is to engage our responsibility, there has to be room for choice) dimensions.
In this paper, I seek to understand the role that this notion of commitment has to play in our understanding of both moral and legal normativity, as well as its link with the wider issue of "response-dependence" (an issue which Gardner's own definition of norm as "a kind of reason inescapably engaging the attention of any rational being without further ado" conveniently sets aside).
Keywords: normativity, responsibility, commitment, existentialism, realism, Gardner, response-dependence
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