chapter  1
24 Pages

Norms and the Response to Norms

ByMark Okrent

Norms come in two flavors, statistical and 'normative'. The first sense of norm not the kind that became problematic during the scientific revolution. The second sense of 'norm' is "a required standard; a level to be complied with or reached". As it developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the problem of the place of norms in nature really has two distinct, though surely related, sides. The first issue concerns what it is to be a norm. The second side of the problem has to do with the potential explanatory role of the normative in the natural world. In a modern naturalistic context, however, this direct, teleological, explanatory role for norms presents a problem. This is the problem of the intelligibility of an agent's response to norms. The Kantian theory of responsiveness to norms opened up two alternative approaches to these questions that bypassed any dependence on either goals or desires.