Chapter

Subjective Normativity and Action Guidance<sup>1</sup>

Andrew Sepielli

in Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199662951
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745195 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662951.003.0003

Series: Oxford Studies In Normative Ethics

Subjective Normativity and Action Guidance1

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It's often claimed that when we are uncertain, we must guide our behavior by subjective norms — ones that are, in some sense, appropriately related to the subject's perspective. It is argued that this claim is correct, so long as we understand the uncertainty in question as phenomenally conscious uncertainty. However, there have been very few explicit attempts to explain why this claim is true. In this paper, first steps are taken towards such an explanation. After suggesting a characterization of subjective normative notions in terms of objective normative notions and the notion of trying, several candidate explanations and considered, and it is argued that each is unsatisfactory. The chapter then offers the author's own explanation of why subjective norms are sometimes necessary for the guidance of action, which adverts to what the author calls the “multidirectional” phenomenal character of conscious uncertainty.

Keywords: subjective; objective; action; guidance; trying; minimal probability; conscious; phenomenology; uncertainty; Jackson

Chapter.  11956 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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