UPF Graduate Conference in Legal Theory & Moral and Political Philosophy

New Eidyn project: Foundations of Normativity




Teresa is an international partner of the new project running at Eidyn (led by Matthew Chrisman), Foundations of Normativity.

Foundations of Normativity (2015-17)

Funded by an IASH ‘International and Interdisciplinary Research Groups’ award

Project Type: International Network

Project Team

  • Project Leader: Dr Matthew Chrisman (Philosophy)
  • Executive Committee: Dr Matthew Chrisman (Philosophy), Dr Luis Duarte d’Almedia (Law), Dr Kieran Oberman (Politics)
  • Edinburgh Participants: Dr Guy Fletcher (Philosophy), Tim Hayward (Politics), Dr Elinor Mason (Philosophy), Dr Claudio Michelon (Law), Prof Michael Ridge (Philosophy), Dr Debbie Roberts (Philosophy), Dr Mathias Thaler (Politics), Dr Patrick Todd (Philosophy)
  • International Partners: Prof David Enoch (Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Philosophy, Law), Prof Nadeem Hussain (Stanford, Philosophy), Prof Graham Hubbs (U of Idaho: Philosophy, Politics), Prof Teresa Marques (Pompeu Fabra University: Law, Philosophy), Prof Michael Pelczar (NUS: Philosophy), Prof David Plunkett (Dartmouth: Philosophy, Law), Prof Gerald Postema (UNC: Philosophy, Law), Prof Rob Reich (Stanford, Politics)

Project Description

This project aims to unify disparate strands of research being conducted across Philosophy, Law and Politics into questions about the nature of norms, rules and laws—those that govern institutions, actions and thought—and how these connect to reasons, responsibility and prescriptive language. In addition to local interdisciplinary collaboration, we plan to foster an international network of scholars working on the foundations of normativity by formalising already existing research connections between University of Edinburgh researchers and researchers at other institutions in a way that promotes wider recognition of Edinburgh and Scotland more generally as a world-class centre for postgraduate courses and research on the foundations of normativity.

Related Project

This project grew out of the previous Eidyn pilot projects, Practical Modality and Foundations of Normativity.

Further Details

For more information about this project, including project events, please consult the project webpage here. Information about the 2015 Edinburgh Foundations of Normativity Workshop can be found here.

New publication in Springer

Teresa’s paper “Can metalinguistic negotiations and ‘conceptual ethics’ rescue legal positivism?”, is forthcoming in Alessandro Cappone and Francesca Poggi (eds.) Pragmatics and Law: Perspectives from Legal Practice. Springer.



In recent years, David Plunkett and Tim Sundell published a series of interesting articles that made an original use of linguistic resources from linguistics and philosophy of language to reply to arguments for legal antipositivism, the thesis according to which moral or value facts are part of what determines what the law is in a given jurisdiction at a time. Plunkett and Sundell’s strategy for resisting antipositivism appeals to the notion of a metalinguistic negotiation, a notion that incorporates that of a metalinguistic or context disagreement. Sundell 2011 had argued that metalinguistic disagreements are a possible component of disputes about evaluative matters. A further notion deployed is that of conceptual ethics, and it is an essential component of metalinguistic negotiations. This paper approaches a crucial concern about the deployment of both notions against disagreement-based arguments for legal antipositivism. Metalinguistic negotiations displace disagreements from the semantic to the metalinguistic level, but do not eliminate the appeal to moral or other normative reasons from legal disagreements. Conceptual ethics purports to be a normative activity, engaged with prescribing ways one ought to think and talk. On a broad understanding of legal reasoning and practice, metalinguistic negotiations and conceptual ethics are an integral part of it, and hence are consistent with evaluative and normative facts being essential to, and constitutive of, the law. Or so this paper argues.