Workshop on Facts, Concepts, Norms and Values

CHAIRE HOOVER Louvain-La-Neuve

07 juin 2022

14:00 - 18:00 (Bucharest time)

Hybrid mode

Hybrid workshop jointly organized by The Center for the Study of Rationalities and Beliefs (University of Bucharest) and the Hoover Chair of Social and Economic Ethics (UCLouvain)

Conveners: Laurentiu Gheorge (UNIBUC) and Axel Gosseries (Hoover Chair and ICUB)

This workshop aims at exploring the interconnections between factual, conceptual, axiological and normative levels. Each session will be divided between a presentation and a time for questions and debate.

Participants interested in joining us on zoom should sign in by contacting
Mrs. Dina Geron by June 6 noon
at the following address:,
indicating in title message “June 7 workshop”.

Those present in Bucharest are invited to gather at Sala Constantin Noica (Fac. De Filosofie, Splauil Independentei, 204).
Background reading is available on request from Mrs Geron as well.

Zoom Link


2 p.m. (Bucharest time): Daniel Wodak (University of Pennsylvania)

How to Be a Non-Error Theoretic Eliminativist?
Eliminativists about ‘race’ hold that certain uses of ordinary race terms or concepts are typically wrong. I’ve previously argued that eliminativists need not be error theorists, insofar as they need not hold that those uses of ordinary race terms or concepts fail to refer. In this talk I want to explain how there are several powerful motivations for eliminativism, none of which depend on whether error theory is true. Collectively, they provide a good example of how our normative concerns about uses of terms or concepts comes apart from concerns about their accuracy—whether it’s a fact that there are races comes apart from whether it is wrong to think or speak about those races.

3 p.m.: Johan Olsthoorn (University of Amsterdam)

Conceptualizations driving normative judgments: on theorizing human rights of offenders
Many states across the world legally require prisoners to perform the work assigned to them, for hourly earnings far below the minimum wage. Compulsory prison labour jars with some established human rights (incl. to freedom of occupation and unionization). What, if anything, makes this penal practice morally permissible? I introduce this moral quandary to explore a deeper methodological point. Can conceptualizations of basic moral notions (e.g., of human rights) drive normative judgment? If so, how? My thesis is that normative judgments about the permissibility of compulsory prison labour schemes are shaped by how we conceptualize restrictions of basic moral rights of prisoners. Have offenders lost (‘forfeited’) some of their labour human rights through crime? Are those rights justifiably overridden for their own good or society’s (e.g., rehabilitation, deterrence)? Or are labour human rights protections simply inapplicable in prison contexts? How we conceptually frame the moral condition of the justly condemned logically constrains what kind of work requirements can permissibly be imposed upon them, and for what purposes. Verdicts about the just treatment of prisoners, this suggests, are steered by assumed conceptualizations of their curtailed rights. The paper concludes with some methodological suggestions on how to navigate cases like these.

4 p.m.: Vuko Andric (Bayreuth University & Institute for Futures Studies)

From Values to Norms: The Consequentialist Bridge
Abstract: The idea underlying consequentialism is to take facts about values to be explanatorily prior to facts about norms and other deontic facts. Many writers suggest that the most straightforward way to spell out the consequentialist idea leads to standard act consequentialism. In this paper, I argue that this is not so and that some versions of indirect consequentialism, like rule consequentialism, are prima facie equally likely to spell out the consequentialist idea in the most straightforward way.

5 p.m. : David Plunkett (Dartmouth College)

"After Metaethics? Error Theory, Realism, and the Conceptual Ethics of Normativity" (co-author: Tristram McPherson)
In this paper, we discuss how different projects relate to each other: the project of metaethics and the project of the conceptual ethics of normativity. We've discussed this issue before (and provided characterizations of both projects) in previous work. We here focus on how the literature on metanormative error theory - and, in particular, the discussion about what to do "after" error theory - provides a schema for thinking about some of the ways in which these projects can interact.