Philosophy Department Colloquium: “On our standing to claim”

Event time: 
Monday, May 1, 2023 - 4:00pm
William L. Harkness Hall, Room 119 See map
100 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Event description: 

The Philosophy Department Colloquium presents

Laura Valentini, LMU Munich: 

“On our standing to claim.”

The standing to claim the performance of others’ actions as our due is often said to be a marker of our humanity and dignity. As Feinberg put it: it allows us to “stand up” and look others in the eye as equals. Despite broad consensus on the normative significance of the standing to claim, there is unclarity about what exactly this standing amounts to. In this paper, I propose an account of both the standing to claim in general and the moral standing to claim in particular. I characterize the standing to claim as the ability to perform a particular type of speech act: one that places others under obligations owed to us. Since our possession of this ability depends on the presence of enabling background social conventions, we lack the standing to claim when such conventions are absent. I then characterize the moral standing to claim as the morally justified ability to perform the speech act of claiming. On this characterization, our moral standing to claim is dependent on social conventions, too. I show that, contrary to general perception, moral-standing conventionalism is an appealing position. In doing so, I also highlight some hitherto under-appreciated difficulties with “standing naturalism”: the (dominant) view that we have a moral standing to claim independently of social conventions.

Open to: 
General Public