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The Research Centre in Public Ethics and Governance invites you to the conference of André Duhamel

Normativity, Reflexivity and Governance: a Pragmatic Approach

Dr. André Duhamel

A. Duhamel

 Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Guigues Building Room 102
2 p.m.


Dr. André Duhamel is associate professor at the Department of Philosophy and Applied Ethics at the University of Sherbrooke. He is member of the Chaire d’éthique appliquée at University of Sherbrooke and of the Research Centre in Public Ethics and Governance at Saint Paul University.

The question of normativity is one of the important interests of ethics. Traditionally, moral philosophy regarded normativity as a question of justification: the latter becoming the guarantee of a moral and rational action (Kant, Korsgaard). Ethics is thus dependent upon a theoretical approach. Recently, in sociology, the idea of reflectivity surfaced, which links action to practices according to the perspective of the actors (Giddens, Hamel). However, this approach remains mostly descriptive and explicative. Can normativity be rethought in relation to this idea of reflexivity to the benefit of ethics? We would like to demonstrate that, on the one hand, a pragmatic approach (Dewey, Maesschalck, Visnovsky) can articulate both descriptive and explicative, adding to ethics, particularly if we understand it as “applied ethics,” and on the other hand, that this approach would become relevant in the workplace and various organizations. In these environments, the division of labor and the hierarchies of decision-makers often separate the author or the enunciator of the norm from the actor or the receiver of the norm. Thus the relationship to the norms appears as a question of loyalty and conformity. By introducing reflectivity, the relationship to the norm appears to become a question of appropriation by the actors; if normativity can become the focus of reflectivity in practice.  If this pragmatic approach holds true, the moral action will become a question of social cooperation, even creativity, which would have important impacts to the formation in ethics, the culture of organizations and governance.

The lecture will be in French and will be followed by a discussion.

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