Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Laura Valentini"

Titel: Do Socially Constructed Norms have Moral Force? Précis to a Symposium
Autor: Laura Valentini
Seite: 1-11

Do not chew with your mouth open! Take your hat off when you enter a church! Do not skip the queue! Pay your taxes! Do not cross on a red light! These are familiar imperatives, and their immediate source are ‘socially constructed norms’: norms that exist as a matter of social fact. These range from informal etiquette and politeness norms to the complex norms making up our legal systems. While we often feel bound by these norms, we are also aware that they can be pernicious: the product of injustice and vehicles for its perpetuation. The question thus arises: when and why, if ever, does the fact that a socially constructed norm requires us to perform a certain action place us under a genuine moral obligation to comply? In Morality and Socially Constructed Norms, I answer that such an obligation, when it exists, is grounded in a broader, familiar duty, namely the duty to respect people’s permissible and authentic exercises of agency. This is what I call the ‘Agency-Respect View.’ The first part of the book outlines and defends the view, the second part considers relevant applications.

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Titel: Two Types of Social Norms
Autor: Åsa Burman
Seite: 25-36

In Morality and Socially Constructed Norms, Laura Valentini poses and answers this overall question: When and why, if at all, are socially constructed norms morally binding? Valentini develops an original account, the agency-respect view, that offers an answer to this general question by offering a moral criterion in terms of agency respect. I agree with the criterion proposed by the agency-respect view, given the account of socially constructed norms that it assumes. However, its account of socially constructed norms seems too narrow to answer the general question. More specifically, I argue that the account of social norms is too narrow, even according to Valentini’s own standard, since it does not account for teleological social norms, which are about standards of excellence rather than standards of behavior. Taking teleological social norms into account calls the moral criterion proposed by the agency-respect view into question: it is plausible concerning the type of social norm assumed by the agency-respect view, but not for teleological social norms. Hence, the general question has not been fully answered.

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Titel: Political Obligations and Respect for Social Norms
Autor: George Klosko
Seite: 37-50

This paper examines Laura Valentini’s attempt to explain political obligations through her account of social norms, her ‘Agency-Respect View’ (ARV). A great strength of ARV is preserving the ‘content-independence’ of political obligations. However, ARV does not mesh well with the moral phenomenology of political obligations. ARV is able to generate moral requirements that are strikingly weak. Accounting for the far stronger moral force of requirements to obey the law requires appealing to law-independent considerations. Valentini’s account of these factors suggests greater explanatory force of an alternative view she dismisses, to which she refers as the ‘deflationary view.’ In addition, among alternative theories that Valentini rejects is one based on the principle of fair play. I respond to Valentini’s criticisms, thereby demonstrating the continuing applicability of fair play.

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Titel: Must I Honor Your Convictions? On Laura Valentini’s Agency-Respect View
Autor: Katharina Nieswandt
Seite: 51-65

Laura Valentini’s novel theory, the Agency-Respect View, says that we have a fundamental moral duty to honor other people’s convictions, at least pro tanto and under certain conditions. I raise doubts that such a duty exists indeed and that informative conditions have been specified. The questions that Valentini faces here have a parallel in Kant’s moral philosophy, viz. the question of why one has a duty to value the other’s humanity and the question of how to specify the maxim of one’s action. Additionally, I discuss the concept of a social convention and Valentini’s use of it.

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Titel: Social Norms and Obligation: Rescuing the Joint Commitment Account
Autor: Titus Stahl
Seite: 67-83

In Morality and Socially Constructed Norms, Laura Valentini argues that moral obligations to respect social norms can be explained without invoking the concept of ‘joint commitment.’ Her resulting account is, in one important sense, individualistic, and therefore struggles to account for widely held intuitions about the normative significance of social norms. I argue that we can rescue the notion of joint commitment from Valentini’s objections, and incorporate it into a version of her account that preserves its insights.

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Focus: Symposium on Laura Valentini, Morality and Socially Constructed Norms
2024 (46) Heft 1


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