Professor Larry Krasnoff (College of Charleston) will deliver the keynote lecture for the 7th Annual MSU Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.
Normativity and Practical Justification in Kant
In this paper I argue that Kant has both an account of normativity and an account of practical justification. These two accounts are and indeed must be related, but it is equally important that they be distinguished. In staking out this thesis, I mean to challenge certain current understandings of normativity which threaten to undermine this distinction – either by reducing an account of practical justification to an account of normativity, or by invoking the fact of normativity specifically to reject the demand for an account of practical justification. Each of these views, I will suggest, seems to arise naturally from the essential relationship between normativity and reasons, but they ultimately rest on a narrow understanding of practical reasoning that is at odds with the wider range of views available in the history of Western practical philosophy, and with the specific ways that the fact of normativity entered that history. By looking specifically at Kant’s account of normativity and its relation to his account of practical justification, I hope both to recover some of that history and to provide some encouragement for the project of constructing a theory of practical justification, a project that has fallen into a certain kind of neglect.