Department of Philosophy

The Varieties of Normativity

Project Description

The main question the project will be concerned with is: what is normativity?

We investigate this question through looking at different (purported) forms of normativity. While, traditionally, discussions of normativity have tended to be conducted within metaethics, we also want to compare for example aesthetics, epistemology, and language.

Generally, we investigate whether there are importantly different forms of normativity, and, if so, what unites them and separates them.

The question of what normativity is can be separated into two. First, there is the question within philosophy of language about what distinguishes normative language from other kinds of language. Second, there is the question within metaphysics about what distinguishes normativity as a metaphysical phenomenon. Both these questions, as formulated, rest on assumptions that some can want to question: that there really is something that characterizes all and only normative language and that there is something that characterizes all and only normativity as a metaphysical phenomenon. These assumptions can be questioned.

A reading group meeting every two weeks focuses on articles and book chapters related to the project.

Seminars, Conferences and Workshops

Various seminars, conferences, and workshops are organized within the auspices of the project.



  • September 1, 2016: Anna Bergqvist, Manchester Metropolitan University, "Thick Concepts and Action-Oriented Perception"
  • June 9, 2016: Billy Dunaway, University of Missouri-St. Louis, "Grounds of Knowledge: Epistemological Motivations for Anti-realism"
  • April 28, 2016: Teemu Toppinen, University of Helsinki, "Non-Naturalism and Normative Supervenience"


  • December 20, 2015: Jonas Olson, Stockholms universitet, "Nihilism and the Epistemic Profile of Moral Judgment"

Conferences and Workshops