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Conditions of normativity

The philosophers at the University of Stavanger adresses three central philosophical problem areas: action, knowledge and meaning.

The research group addresses questions of normativity in general on the basis of investigations of the nature or conditions of three important forms of normativity: moral normativity, epistemic normativity and semantic normativity.

Normativity is a fundamental fact of human existence. Indeed, it could be argued that human beings are unique in their ability to employ normative concepts, roughly, concepts relating to what should or ought to be, or what is good or desirable.

The phenomenon of normativity gives rise to questions at different levels of generality. At one level are questions concerning the normative standing of specific items belonging to different normative spheres: Is this action morally right or wrong? ls this belief well-founded? Is this painting beautiful? Is this expression used in a correct way?

At a higher level are questions concerning the standards by reference to which we seek to answer questions at the lower level: By what standards should we decide whether or not an action is morally right or wrong, a belief well-founded, a painting beautiful or an expression used in a correct way?

Are there any fundamental normative concepts, concepts in terms of which all other normative concepts can be defined? What is the relation between normativity and rationality? What is the extent of the domain of normativity? How many basic forms of normativity are there, and what is relation between them? How can normative claims be justified?

These and related questions constitute the field of the philosophical study of normativity in general, to which the philosphers at UiS will contribute. 

The members of the research group are responsible for a number of philosophy courses both in theoretical and practical philosophy at different levels at UiS – bachelor, master and PhD.

Books in a shelf

The philosophers at UiS are responsible for a number of philosophy courses at UiS.