What is the Problem of Normativity? Which philosopher from the course do you think has the best response to it?
The science gives us the facts, what is and why it is, where as it does not tell us what ought to be, what should be done. It talks about the ethical rules and values, which guides the human behaviour. It tells about good, bad, right, wrong, just, unjust and other such value based ideas. The problem of normativity lies in the understanding of how to make sense of these norms. How is it possible that everyone understands these norms at a certain level? How do we move the argument from what is to what ought to be? Why do we feel wrong about someone getting murdered? These are the kinds of judgments, which are not explained through facts but comes from the moral value. It comes from a certain passion, which is, felt and cannot be explained by facts. Our moral sense given us the capacity of making judgements to act in a morally responsible manner.
The moral judgments of every individual differ from one another and that is another problem which normativity faces. What would be the moral judgements for the person who steals because otherwise he may die of hunger? Is it better to die of hunger or steal from someone for whom that much loss of food or money will not make any difference to his well-being? Is it all right to break the law if everyone is breaking the law? Is it also acceptable to break the law till the time no one gets to know that one is acting against it?
I find Hume’s view to be apt in explaining the problem of normativity. His is-ought problem seems to understand the issue closely and very precisely. This understanding is derived from “A Treatise of Human Nature” by David Hume. As per the book III Part I regarding “Morals” and “ Of Virtue and Vice in General” what stays present in the mind is perceptions related to various activities such as seeing, hearing, judging, loving hating etc. and it is difficult to consider reason along to decide the morality of any action.
The norms are also defied when the object is in the context of love and hatred. Both the aspects are related to passion and passion does not follow norms that are established for larger section, or in a way it can be said that it follows norms only when it is suitable or is in line of passion but the same is not followed when in contradiction. Thus the problem of normativity can be seen during the object of passion also.
Even in context of liberty, we tend to give a part of our freedom for the security which state provides us and in the process we are bound by the rules and regulations of the state. We have to stay within the boundary which exists. In the same context, one point is made noteworthy that we are also bound by the place where we are born or where we are brought up, thus the understanding of freedom is also seen in a context which is framed within the larger picture. There are set norms of society, which at one basal each and every individual understands level, the one who does not follow the same is either viewed as mentally disturbed or the actions are linked with virtue with respect to the common good, which is established by those actions.
The understanding has been derived from the “Treatise of Human Nature” by David Hume. According to me , the problem of normativity is best explained by the author.