Presentation on theme: "The Second Person Frame Philip Pettit. Darwalls thesis 1 P.F.Strawson: given local standards, we hold one another to them; we adopt a reactive stance."— Presentation transcript:
The Second Person Frame Philip Pettit
Darwalls thesis 1 P.F.Strawson: given local standards, we hold one another to them; we adopt a reactive stance. We take one another to be subject to the ought of the standards and, ought implying can, we treat one another as satisfying the appropriate can. This was an original move, since it reversed the ought- can connection in approaching the topic of free will. But Stephen Darwall thinks it was not radical enough.
Darwalls thesis 2 Darwall wants to say that reflecting on second person reactions and relations can deliver more. Not just a sense of a can that we inevitably impute, but also a sense of an unavoidable ought. The existence of a suitable relationship can make accountability demands inescapable. And these distinctive moral demands give the lie to any form of consequentialism.
Darwalls thesis 3 Are there any unavoidable second person demands? And do they undermine consequentialism? Darwall suggests positive answers to both questions. Second person demands may taken as practice-based demands or practice-revealed demands. I will consider each construal in turn and then address the consequentialist question.
Practice-based demands 1 There is a social practice with which second person demands might be particularly associated. This is the co-reasoning practice in which we use public language to reason with one another. In co-reasoning, we provide another with a service that we provide ourselves in individual reasoning. We help the other in drawing attention to facts, links, and values that may have been overlooked.
Practice-based demands 2 Co-reasoning is characterized by this epistemic collaboration and by what it consequently rules out. It rules out all forms of influence that depend on anything other than the force of good reasons. Covert examples: deception, manipulation, intimidation; overt: coercion, obstruction, and force. Call these: disrespectful attempts at influence.
Practice-based demands 3 Those who can and do co-reason have mutually aware access to these exclusionary implications. It will be a matter of mutual awareness that to co- reason is to reject the excluded forms of influence. If people avow a co-reasoning stance, then, they will manifestly disavow such disrespectful influence. They will disarm themselves ex ante against complaints about not living up to those avowals and disavowals.
Practice-based demands 4 Rephrasing the lesson, participants may be said to address claims or demands to one another. These will not be like explicit demands for advice or help; they will be distinct, presupposed demands. In effect, they will be demands for respect as co- participants in a mutually endorsed practice. Any breach can be denounced; thats not co-reasoning can play the same role as thats not cricket. The constitutive rules of the practice => demands.
Practice-based demands 5 Practice-based demands do well insofar as they are: associated with a stance people choose to take up; manifestly presupposed to surface demands; terms, plausibly, that mediate...mutual respect; authority-based, not agent-neutral reasons; ratifiable reflexively: each to self (Pufendorf); ratifiable reciprocally: each to each (Fichte). But can they be used if a person renounces the practice?
Practice-revealed demands 1 Second person demands are construed so far as demands, under existing rules, of players qua players. They are demands whose source is that they are presupposed to the success of the practice. Players make them, not in virtue of their own nature, but rather in virtue of the game they play. But the co-reasoning practice, playing an epistemic role, might be thought to reveal deeper demands.
Practice-revealed demands 2 In order to perform as players, agents will have to possess and exercise certain natural capacities. Let those capacities be used to define a properperson. Then agents will be persons iff they are capable, unlike the cat, of participating in the practice/personating. And that being so, the practice will provide a perspective within which agents are revealed as proper persons. Indeed it will provide an indispensable perspective for the non-parasitic understanding of personhood.
Practice-revealed demands 3 Mastery of the concept of personhood will be dependent on being able to participate in the practice. Analogy: mastery of the concept of color is plausibly dependent on being able to have color sensations. Personhood and color may be independently identifiable patterns or properties in the world. But they will not be available for non-parasitic conceptualization except frame-dependently.
Practice-revealed demands 4 Response-dependent mastery explains why it is a priori knowable that x is red iff x normally looks red. And practice-dependent mastery explains why it is a priori knowable that x is a person iff x engages demands of the practice-related kind. Insofar as the practice reveals personhood, it will also reveal the demands associated with persons. And those demands will be cast as flowing from the nature of persons, not from the rules of the practice.
Practice-revealed demands 5 Because x is a person it will be a priori knowable that: x puts reflexively ratifiable demands on me/others; I/others put reciprocally ratifiable demands on x; resentment is justified if any demands are unmet. This will not be contingent on our participating, as a default, in a co-reasoning practice. It will be true of anyone that I take to be a person; it will reflect the fact of their proper personhood.
Practice-revealed demands 6 This story, like the first, is naturalistically sensible. Frame-dependent conceptualization may be expressively more powerful than naturalistic resources allow. And yet the availability of such conceptualization may be explicable by naturalistic resources. The color analogy may already bring out the point but two other analogies make it quite salient.
Practice-revealed demands 7 The analogies. 1. We can cite the associations used to explain how a metaphor has content; but we cannot communicate that content. Paraphrase is not poetry. 2. We can cite the use of identity, place or time to explain how indexicals have content; but we cannot express that content non-indexically. Perry-Lewis. Demands may be expressible only within our practice, yet that practice be naturalistically explicable.
The consequentialist question 1 Consider second person demands under first construal. Are they too practice-dependent, on this approach, to count as the sort of thing that Darwall seeks? Consequentialists might laud general observance of the practice on salient, agent-neutral grounds. They would laud relying on the right sort of reasons, at least so long as the red lights do not go on. They may go on under perverse circumstances, partial compliance, and political underperformance.
The consequentialist question 2 Consequentialists on this approach will treat the practice of co-reasoning as they treat that of friendship. Friendship requires non-consequentialist calculation, as does thinking in the co-reasoning way. No violation will be justified by the fact that overall it will make for a reduction in the number of violations. But still the practice may be suspended if conditions conspire to make it undesirable to be faithful to it. This will explain suspensions that all must allow.
The consequentialist question 3 Second person demands are conditioned on the benefit of a practice, then, even if not conditional. But that need not matter, given that A. the practice comes on stream as a default; B. the in-practice demands are non-consequentialist; C. the benefit makes the practice hard to suspend. Still, it is hard to see a basis for resenting someone who renounces the practice from the start. This may argue for going the second route.
The consequentialist question 4 On this approach the demands are not conditioned, being associated with personhood as such. They are authority-based reasons that differ inherently from agent-neutral reasons. They ground special obligations occasioned by situational rather than standing relationships. But there is a troubling dilemma for anyone who thinks such obligations belie consequentialism.
The consequentialist question 5 Either the satisfaction of these demands has agent- neutral value or it does not. If it does not, then that implies, implausibly, that we are not to prefer a world where they are satisfied to an otherwise similar world where they are not. If it does, then that raises a question as to how to deal with situations where we know that the value of satisfying them is outweighed by the value of not. Consequentialism gives a very plausible answer.
The consequentialist question 6 Consequentialists may support this answer for reasons of partial compliance, perversity or politics. It is entirely reasonable to think that in some conditions, second person demands are not sacred. E.g.: dont respect the would-be murderer, dont insist on respect when the costs are enormous, dont use respect to argue against a certain redistribution. Consequentialism gives us a basis on which to say when and how to make room for such adjustments.
The consequentialist question 7 A contractualist alternative remains a live option. This would take the master second person constraint to require the ratifiability by each the justifiability to each of any demands that apply. And it would argue that people may justify to one another in this way principles for how they should treat one another in various imperfect conditions. It would provide a heuristic for generating both first and second-best second person demands.
The consequentialist question 8 I say nothing against contractualism of this sort but argue only that consequentialism is a live option. Darwalls work on the second person leaves the existing debate with consequentialism open. Practice-based demands will be conditioned demands that it is right in consequentialist terms to satisfy. Practice-revealed demands will be ones whose satisfaction is valuable and should be promoted in the measure in which value-maximization allows.