chapter  5
30 Pages

Human Practices and Responsiveness to Two-Dimensional Practical Norms

ByMark Okrent

This chapter discusses the distinctive kind of non-instrumental norms to which humans are responsive, a kind of norm that is exemplified by our capacity to use the distinctive complexes of tools that are characteristic of human tool use, and asks about the abilities to respond to norms that an agent must have if she is to be able to design, comprehend, and use such tool complexes. Neither non-human instrumentally rational animals, nor non-human socially practical animals, nor non-human animals who are both, are able to respond as they should to either the instrumental or practical roles, the teleological functions, that organize their lives. The two-dimensional structure of the norms that establish human practices sets up a potential tension between the two levels of norms that are integral in these practices, a potential tension that is absent in all non-human practices.