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First-Personal Authority and the Normativity of Rationality

Coons, Christian; Faraci, David

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Christian Coons


In “Vindicating the Normativity of Rationality,” Nicholas Southwood proposes that rational requirements are best understood as demands of one’s “first-personal standpoint.” Southwood argues that this view can “explain the normativity or reason-giving force” of rationality by showing that they “are the kinds of thing that are, by their very nature, normative.” We argue that the proposal fails on three counts: First, we explain why demands of one’s first-personal standpoint cannot be both reason-giving and resemble requirements of rationality. Second, the proposal runs headlong into the now familiar “bootstrapping” objection that helped illuminate the need to vindicate the normativity of rationality in the first place. Lastly, even if Southwood is right—the demands of rationality just are the demands or our first-personal standpoints—the explanation as to why our standpoints generate reasons will entail that we sometimes have no reason at all to be rational.


Coons, C., & Faraci, D. (2010). First-Personal Authority and the Normativity of Rationality. Philosophia, 38(4), 733-740.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 15, 2010
Publication Date Dec 1, 2010
Deposit Date Aug 31, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 4, 2018
Journal Philosophia
Print ISSN 0048-3893
Electronic ISSN 1574-9274
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 4
Pages 733-740
Related Public URLs


Accepted Journal Article (200 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Philosophia. The final authenticated version is available online at:

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