The logical discipline of normative discourse

Jan Wawrzyniak (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)

This paper is intended to promote a way of is-ought derivation, rooted in neonaturalistic - as I define my standpoint - solutions which were worked out within the scope of both the ontology of values and metaethical applications of 20 th Century linguistic philosophy. Normative, especially in the sphere of morality, reasoning is supposed to be the most significant component of the structure of social communication, which is interpreted as such - from the evolutionary view - as a primal phenomenon of moral status. The perspective outlined, generally focused in the question "how do words connect with the world ?", provides relevant contribution for contemporary axiolinguistics as well as the semiotics of normative reasoning.

The common practices of normative persuasion employ a variety of modes of argumentation such as the usage of evaluations, norms, imperatives, performative utterances, prescriptions, optatives, a wide range of kinds of emotive pressure performed by speech acts - and their non-verbal correlates - behind all of which some intentions of perlocutionary effects are hidden, and which all have methodologically differentiated status. Therefore, the ability to recognize some tricks employed in such practices as well as the qualified faculty of argumentation for and validation of one's own moral convictions seems to be an indispensable component of a subject's high cultural competency. The moral responsibility for social states-of-affairs generated by speech acts requires such competency.

The neonaturalistic approach - itself representing cognitive meta-ethics and recognizing the pragmatic functions of speech acts as a social phenomenon - proposes a philosophical alternative to the cage of formalized languages of normative reasoning (like various systems of deontic logic) in order to find real, verifiable - not necessarily of contractual origin - value-referred premises for the inference of socially applied judgments of duty. The distinction between logical validation and moral (value-referred) justification of imperatives is emphasized at the same time. On this account certain philosophical interpretations of the categories of "fact", "value" and "personal agent of valuation and cognition" will be carried out and, in the next step, an example of is-ought inference will be presented.