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From Normativity to Responsibility

From Normativity to Responsibility

by Joseph Raz


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What are our duties or rights? How should we act? What are we responsible for? How do we determine the answers to these questions? Joseph Raz examines and explains the philosophical issues underlying these everyday quandaries. He explores the nature of normativity—namely, the fact that we believe and feel we should behave in certain ways, the reasoning behind certain beliefs and emotions, and various basic features of making decisions about what to do. He goes on to consider when we are responsible for our actions and omissions, and offers a novel account of responsibility. We can think of responsibility for unjustified actions or attitudes as a precondition of the blameworthiness of a person for an attitude or an action, or perhaps for a whole set of actions, intentions, or beliefs. Responsibility for justified actions or attitudes may be a precondition of praiseworthiness. Either way responsibility may point to further consequences of being justified or unjustified, rational or not. But crucially, responsibility attaches to people in a more holistic way. Some people are responsible for their actions, while others are not. In this way, Raz argues that the end is in the beginning, in understanding how people are subject to normativity, namely how it is that there are reasons addressed to them, and what is the meaning of that for our being in the world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199693818
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/13/2012
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Joseph Raz has been teaching at Oxford University since 1972. He has been Professor of the Philosophy of Law there since 1985, and Research Professor since 2006; he has also been Professor at Columbia University since 2002. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has published a number of books including Between Authority and Interpretation (OUP, 2009) and The Authority of Law (OUP, 2009).

Table of Contents

1. The Hope
Part One: Regarding Normativity
2. Practical Reasons: Explanatory and Normative
3. Reasons: Practical and Adaptive
4. The Guise of the Good
5. Reason, Rationality & Normativity
Part Two: Regarding Practical Reasoning
6. Epistemic Modulations
7. Practical Reasoning
8. The Myth of Instrumental Rationality
9. Reasons in Conflict
10. Numbers: With and Without Contractualism
11. Promoting Value?
Part Three: On Responsibility
12. Being in the World
13. Responsibility and the Negligence Standard

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