Normativity, Experience and the We

Workshop on phenomenology of normativity with Sara Heinämaa (University of Jyväskylä), Sophie Loidolt (TU Darmstadt), and Michela Summa (University of Würzburg).

Due to COVID-19 you will need to register for this workshop. Registration is now closed.


13.15-14.25 Sara Heinämaa: "Ideal principles vs. prescriptive and enabling rules: Husserl's account of the fundaments of normativity"

14.25-15.35 Michela Summa: "Normativity and disagreement: The paradigm of aesthetic judgment"

15.35-15:50: Coffee Break

15.50-17.00 Sophie Loidolt: "Phenomenological Forms of Normativity and the We"


"Ideal principles vs. prescriptive and enabling rules: Husserl's account of the fundaments of normativity"
Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann contribute to the critical discussion of normativity by offering analysis of the relations between moral rules of action, on the one hand, and values, on the other hand. Both argue that values as such do not regulate actions. Values are ideal principles of being and as such they merely determine what ought to be without commanding or dictating what must be done. This “normative inertness” of values in respect to action is due to their structure: they do not contain in themselves any reference to volitions or acts of willing, integral to action. The phenomenological tradition also entails an argument about epistemic norms that parallels Scheler’s and Hartman’s arguments about moral norms. In his Formal and Transcendental Logic (1927), Husserl contends that sciences in general are regulated not by mere norms of reasoning but more fundamentally by ideal principles of being. The logical laws that guide the scientists do not operate by ruling over their activities of inferring, proving or arguing but by conditioning the ideal structures and formations that they aim at. The paper explicates Husserl’s understanding of ideal principles in distinction from enabling and prescriptive norms, and then studies two different kinds of such principles, on the one hand the principles of logic and on the other hand vocational principles of being. 

"Normativity and disagreement: The paradigm of aesthetic judgment"
Philosophical aesthetics tends to be considered as a specific domain of philosophical inquiry, having to do with aesthetic pleasure and evaluation. Yet, a closer look at Modern aesthetics (notably in Hume and Kant) shows that aesthetic judgment can also be taken as paradigmatically expressing the normative structure of cognition. While lacking verifiability criteria, judgments of taste raise a claim to intersubjective validity. Rather than considering this as a peculiarity that deprives such judgments of any cognitive value, it is arguable that the aesthetic judgments exhibit a normative structure related to intersubjective agreement, which is common to cognitive judgments.
In this paper, I wish to argue that a reflection on the judgment of taste may shed new light on the phenomenological understanding of normativity in cognition, notably of perceptually based cognition. I will do this by discussing a contrario what we can learn from disagreement, particularly focusing the two following issues: (i) what disagreement in aesthetic and perceptual cognition can and cannot be about; (ii) how such disagreement can be legitimately settled.

"Phenomenological Forms of Normativity and the We“ 
In my talk I systematize and spell out three different forms of normativity that all relate to our engagement with the world and others: “operative normativity,” “imperative normativity,” and “critical normativity.” My aim is to show how each of these forms is rooted in a respectively different kind or structure of experience and how, in each case, normativity is gained from experience. I start out with the normativity in perception and bodily experience.Then move on to another kind of normativity in experience that confronts me with an “ought.” Finally, I take a look at how the proto-normative and normative structures gained from experience become norms with a “critical” function. This means that they become norms which we actively apply to our practical lives and which we constantly have to re-examine.This will give us a (non-exhaustive) panorama of phenomenology’s conceptions of experience with respect to questions of normativity. In a final step, I will link these different forms of phenomenological normativity to questions of the constitution of a „we“. By this I would like to explore possible analyses of forms of „we“ through a normative perspective informed by phenomenology.