The Deontic Furniture of the World: An Analysis of the Basic Concepts that Embody Normativity
Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper No. 2012/8
27 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012 Last revised: 12 May 2012
Date Written: March 30, 2012
This paper aims to elucidate the nature of normativity by discussing the ‘deontic furniture of the world’, the concepts which embody this normativity.
In its first part, the paper deals with facts and rules, the different kinds of rules, and the difference between facts and rules. Three important conclusions are that: • the well-known distinction between constitutive and regulative rules is a dubitable one; • there is a real important difference between static and dynamic rules, and that there are at least two kinds of static rules; • depending on the meaning assigned to ‘norm’ either there is no difference between norms and facts, or the difference is rather uninteresting. In its second part, the paper attempts to elucidate the nature of normativity by addressing the relations between motivating and guiding reasons. Two important conclusions of this discussion are that: • there are two ‘families’ of guiding reasons, one based on the motivation of actors, and the other on reason; • not all guiding reasons are reasons why something ought to be done. In its third part, the paper makes some distinctions between the central normative notions of duty, obligation, being obligated, being obliged and ought to do. Two important conclusions of this discussion are that: • there is a clear difference between duties and obligations and neither one of them is an ought; • the fact that P should, or ought to, do A is not a reason for P to do A.
Keywords: constitutive rules, regulative rules, dynamic rules, fact-to-fact rules, counts-as rules, deontic facts, explanatory reason, guiding reason, deontic reason, personal reason, social reason, institutional reason, second-personality, ought, duty, obligation, practical reason
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