Book

Shaping the Normative Landscape

David Owens

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691500
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744938 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691500.001.0001
Shaping the Normative Landscape

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This book affirms the value of obligations and of rights, of forgiveness, of consent and refusal, of promise and request. These are all instruments by which we exercise control over our normative environment. Philosophers from Hume to Scanlon have supposed that when we make promises, give our consent, etc. our real interest is in controlling (or being able to anticipate) what people will actually do and that our interest in rights and obligations is a by-product of this more fundamental interest. In fact, we value for its own sake the ability to decide who is obliged to do what, to determine when blame is appropriate, to settle whether an act wrongs us. This book describes how we control the rights and obligations of ourselves and of those around us. We do so by making friends and thereby creating the rights and obligations of friendship. We do so by making promises and so binding ourselves to perform. We do so by consenting to medical treatment and thereby giving the doctor the right to go ahead. The normative character of our world matters to us on its own account. To make sense of promise, consent, friendship, and other related phenomena we must acknowledge that normative interests are amongst our fundamental interests. We must also rethink the psychology of human agency and the nature of social convention.

Keywords: promise; consent; forgiveness; friendship; request; blame; wrong; obligation; rights; David Hume

Book.  272 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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Blame and Guilt in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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Wronging in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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Obligation in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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Obligation and Involvement in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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The Problem with Promising in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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The Promissory Interest in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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The Possibility of Consent in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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What is a Promise? in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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The Promissory Bond in Shaping the Normative Landscape

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