A Précis of Understanding People: Normativity and Rationalizing Explanation


The article provides a summary of the author's book Understanding People: Normativity and Rationalizing Explanation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004). It details three areas in which the notion of a normative commitment is made central. These are (1) believing and intending, (2) practices conceived as essentially rule-governed activities, and (3) meaning and concepts. An account is given of how we may best explain the commitments incurred by beliefs and intentions. It is held that those states are themselves essentially normative. A problem of the relevance of rationalizing to rationalizing explanation is explored and the relation between normative commitments and normative reasons is discussed

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Alan Millar
University of Stirling

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