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The Normative Animal?On the Anthropological Significance of Social, Moral, and Linguistic Norms$
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Neil Roughley and Kurt Bayertz

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190846466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190846466.001.0001

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The Emergence of Moral Normativity

The Emergence of Moral Normativity

(p.154) 8 The Emergence of Moral Normativity
The Normative Animal?

Kurt Bayertz

Oxford University Press

The aim of this chapter is to provide an interpretation of moral ought which, on the one hand, affiliates to diverging philosophical interpretations of ought and takes up some of their insights, while on the other hand remains compatible with the findings of the relevant empirical sciences. The starting point for this interpretation is the assumption that human beings (like animals) have interests concerning not only (external) nature, but also the fellow members of their own species: they want something from them, and try to influence their behaviour accordingly. The central hypothesis of this contribution is that (a) the roots of moral normativity are to be found in such volitions, but that (b) one can only speak of moral normativity once these volitions have been institutionalised within a community and thus become a social reality which is (relatively) independent of the individuals involved. Moral ought is then to be viewed as the institutionalised and exteriorised volition of the members of a community.

Keywords:   moral normativity, volitions, moral community, institutionalisation, exteriorisation

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