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Products for Grant FA-56763-12

FA-56763-12
Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Discourse
Stephen Finlay, University of Southern California

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FA-56763-12

Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language (Book)
Title: Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language
Author: Stephen Finlay
Abstract: Can normative words like "good," "ought," and "reason" be defined in entirely non-normative terms? Confusion of Tongues argues that they can, advancing a new End-Relational theory of the meaning of this language as providing the best explanation of the many different ways it is ordinarily used. Philosophers widely maintain that analyzing normative language as describing facts about relations cannot account for special features of particularly moral and deliberative uses of normative language, but Stephen Finlay argues that the End-Relational theory systematically explains these on the basis of a single fundamental principle of conversational pragmatics. These challenges comprise the central problems of metaethics, including the connection between normative judgment and motivation, the categorical character of morality, the nature of intrinsic value, and the possibility of normative disagreement. Finlay's linguistic analysis has deep implications for the metaphysics, epistemology, and psychology of morality, as well as for the nature and possibility of normative ethical theory. Most significantly it supplies a nuanced answer to the ancient Euthyphro Question of whether we desire things because we judge them good, or vice versa. Normative speech and thought may ultimately be just a manifestation of our nature as intelligent animals motivated by contingent desires for various conflicting ends
Year: 2014
Primary URL: http://oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347490.001.0001/acprof-9780199347490?rskey=rXIp87&result=10
Primary URL Description: Oxford Scholarship Online database access
Secondary URL: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/confusion-of-tongues-9780199347490?cc=us&lang=en&
Secondary URL Description: Oxford University Press sales
Access Model: Hardback book; also electronic access through database subscription.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780199347490
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

"The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement" (Book Section)
Title: "The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement"
Author: Stephen Finlay
Editor: Michael Ridge
Editor: Guy Fletcher
Abstract: Relational theories of normative language allegedly face special problems in accounting for the extent of disagreement, but this is everybody’s problem because normative sentences are relativized to different information in contexts of deliberation and advice. This paper argues that a relational theory provides a pragmatic solution that accounts for some disagreements as involving inconsistent preferences rather than beliefs. This is shown to be superior to the semantic solution offered by expressivists like Allan Gibbard, as it accounts for a wider range of disagreements, explains a puzzling asymmetry, and avoids the expressivist’s problem with negation. This pragmatic account extends to fundamental disagreements involving preferences for different ends. Three different kinds of normative disagreement are distinguished: instrumental, rational, and outright.
Year: 2014
Primary URL: http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347582.001.0001/acprof-9780199347582
Primary URL Description: Oxford Scholarship Online database access
Secondary URL: http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~finlay/
Secondary URL Description: Author's website (open access preprint version)
Access Model: Hardback book; also electronic access through database subscription, and author's preprint on open access website.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book Title: Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics
ISBN: 9780199347582

"Explaining Reasons" (Article)
Title: "Explaining Reasons"
Author: Stephen Finlay
Abstract: What does it mean to call something a “reason”? This paper offers a unifying semantics for the word ‘reason’, challenging three ideas that are popular in contemporary philosophy; (i) that ‘reason’ is semantically ambiguous, (ii) that the concept of a normative reason is the basic normative concept, and (iii) that basic normative concepts are unanalyzable. Nonnormative uses of ‘reason’ are taken as basic, and as meaning explanation why. Talk about normative reasons for action is analyzed in terms of explanations why acting would be good in some way. I show how a number of obstacles for this idea—including extending the analysis to normative reasons for attitudes—can be overcome by adopting a reductive, end-relational analysis of the meaning of ‘good’ which I have defended elsewhere. Finally, I analyze talk of “motivating” reasons in terms of (supposed) normative reasons for which agents act.
Year: 2012
Primary URL: https://meiner.de/periodika/deutsches-jahrbuch-philosophie/welt-der-gruende-4622.html?___store=english&___from_store=deutsch
Primary URL Description: Publisher's sales webpage
Secondary URL: http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~finlay/
Secondary URL Description: Author's open access preprint version
Access Model: Published version in print journal only; author's preprint version online open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Deutsches Jahrbuch für Philosophie
Publisher: Meiner Verlag

"One Ought Too Many" (Article)
Title: "One Ought Too Many"
Author: Justin Snedegar
Author: Stephen Finlay
Abstract: Some philosophers hold that ‘ought’ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that ‘ought’ always expresses a propositional operator against objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in ‘ought’ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for ‘ought’ according to which ‘ought’ is always relativized to a contrast set of relevant alternatives enables us to explain the evaluative-deliberative ambiguity and why the availability of these readings depends on sentential grammar.
Year: 2014
Primary URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1933-1592.2012.00646.x/abstract;jsessionid=58BF345C01765BAE9D5DDBDD3817C35E.f01t01
Primary URL Description: Journal access (subscription only)
Secondary URL: http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~finlay/
Secondary URL Description: Author's open access website (preprint version)
Access Model: Subscription only journal; preprint version open access on author's website
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Publisher: Wiley


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