The Social Foundations of Normative Judgment
Norms suffuse our lives and are a major part of the way that we understand and structure the social world. This thesis provides an account of normative judgment that illuminates the nature of this uniquely human competence. The main argument pursued is that understanding normative judgment requires a direct and sustained understanding of its social functions. Within philosophy, discussion of normativity has often been confined to the moral domain. One major theme of this thesis is the broadening of this focus to include other domains that are rightfully considered normative. Another philosophical shibboleth is the tendency to explain features of human psychology from a conceptual perspective. A second theme of the thesis will be the insistence that empirical research is a useful addition to the project of understanding normativity. I present these ideas in three stages. First, I show why it is plausible to believe in the unity of normative domains and defend a conceptual thesis of Normative Judgment Internalism that sees norms as fundamentally bound up with reasons. Secondly, I outline a puzzle that any theory of normative judgment must answer and then critique orthodox Humean and anti-Humean theories that fail to provide such a solution. Thirdly, I explore empirical research about the nature of normative judgment and tentatively endorse a model of normative cognition that is informed by my earlier arguments.