Philosophy Voiced

DEBBIE ROBERTS: Depending on the Thick

July 24, 2022 Centre for Ethics
Philosophy Voiced
DEBBIE ROBERTS: Depending on the Thick
Show Notes

In this podcast, PhD students Peter Tuck and Vladimir Lukić speak with Doctor Debbie Roberts about her paper Depending on the Thick. Doctor Roberts is one of two keynotes (along with Professor Roger Crisp) who is speaking at the Centre for Ethics' upcoming PhD conference titled, What Really Matters? Reflections on Human Values, which will take place August 24-26 at the Historical Building of the University of Pardubice, Pardubice, Czech Republic.
(see the conference poster here)

Doctor Roberts is senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. She works mainly in metaethics, and is particularly interested in the metaphysics of the normative.

Abstract for Depending on the Thick:
The claim that the normative depends on the non-normative is just as entrenched in metanormative theory as the clam that the normative supervenes on the non-normative. It’s widely held to be a genuine truism, a conceptual truth that operates as a constraint on competence with normative concepts. Call it the dependence constraint. I argue that this status is unwarranted. While it is true that the normative is dependent it is not a genuine truism, or a conceptual truth, that it depends on the non-normative. I argue for the following inadequacy claim: that when we cull all the normative terms from our language, and so the concepts that they stand for, what we will be left with will not necessarily be sufficient to adequately describe, conceptualise or represent what it is that we are supposed to be making normative judgments in virtue of. This has implications for both ascriptive and metaphysical understandings of the dependence constraint, and the potential to radically reshape the dialectic in metanormative theory.*

*Roberts, D 2017, 'I— Depending on the thick', Aristotelian Society - Supplementary Volume, vol. 91, no. 1, pp. 197-220.

Podcast edited by Patrick Keenan.
For more information on the upcoming PhD conference, email