Charlotte Witt, "Social Goodness: The Ontology of Social Norms" (Oxford UP, 2023)


In our day-to-day lives, we are subject to normative requirements, obligations, and expectations that originate in the social roles we occupy. For example, professors ought to pursue the truth, while parents ought to be supportive of their children. What’s interesting is that these role-specific requirements seem to befall us. We do not choose them. This raises the puzzle of what accounts for their normativity.

In Social Goodness: The Ontology of Social Norms (Oxford University Press 2023), Charlotte Witt proposes a novel and intriguing conception of the nature of social norms and the source of their normativity. The centerpiece of her account is the idea that we must look to various examples of artisanal practices, dispositions, and techniques to understand social norms.

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Robert Talisse

Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

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