Daily Archives: February 7, 2018

Olimpia Giuliana Loddo

How to understand the normative nature of a picture?

“Pictures have often been considered as means of representation or as forms of expression. However, an agent can use pictures for different goals (Mitchell, Nyíri) and more specifically, pictures can have a normative sense (Lorini).

The expression ‘normative sense’ is vague and it hides different possible meanings. In general, it is possible to use a picture to impose a norm (e.g. traffic signs, urban planning), in this case, some scholars talk about graphic rules or drawn norms (Moroni and Lorini, Maynard).

It is also possible to use a picture to translate a norm: this is a specific form of intersemiotic translation (Jakobson). The intersemiotic translation of rules can be a precious instrument of legal clarification: for instance, in contractual design. In this case, the normative picture is a partial or total visualisation of normative text (Haapio).

This paper aims to point out that the normative nature of the drawing reflects the intention behind the drawing activity or the attitude of the users of the drawings.

In fact, on the one hand, an agent can produce a picture or locate it in a particular place to create a new norm, in the matter in question, the activity of the drawer could be considered part of the procedure that leads to the creation of a norm.

On the other hand, an agent can produce a picture that refers to an existing norm. The production of a picture that represents an existing norm can have different functions that I will point out by analysing three different examples. The first example concerns the activity of a contract designer that can use the picture to clarify the clauses of a commercial contract (this can transform a contract into a valuable instrument of management). Moreover, a second example concerns an activist that can illustrate several norms to overcome the linguistic and technical barriers between the lawgiver and the potential norms’ addresses. The third case relates the activity of a painter that produces normative pictures to reinforce norms already valid in a community.

The different forms of normative visualisation can follow specific strategies. In general, there are at least three different strategies of norm visualisation: Pushmi-pullyu representations (i.e., in R. Millikan’s lexicon, forms of normative visualization that appeal to more primitive mechanisms of imitation); the representation of the unpleasant consequences of the norm violation; the creation of a system of symbolic graphic representations. The different, forms of norms visualisation can reflect and be influenced by the norm’s typology.

However, the different forms of norm visualisation do not reflect the relation between norms and pictures. In other words, in this presentation, I will show that it is impossible to understand the specific function a normative picture without analysing both the actual use of that picture and the social and historical context in which that picture is produced. The bare observation of a picture cannot reveal its specific normative nature.”


Olimpia G. Loddo earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law from the University of Milan in 2012 and cooperates as postdoctoral volunteer research assistant with the Department of Law of the University of Cagliari. She is assistant editor in “Argumenta. Italian Journal of Analytic Philosophy”. Her current research interests  include general theory of law, social ontology, customary law, philosophy of norms, deontic logic, phenomenology of law. She is the author of several articles published in (national and international) peer reviewed journals. Essays and translations (from English and German) by Olimpia Loddo have also been published in edited collections on phenomenology of law, anthropology of revenge, philosophy of images. She is co-editor (with Pier Luigi Lecis, Giuseppe Lorini, Vinicio Busacchi, and Pietro Salis) of the edited collection “Truth, Image and Normativity”. She edited (with Roberto Pusceddu) the book “Anancastico in Deontica” [The Anankastic in Deontics], LED, 2017 (auth. Giuseppe Lorini). She is the author of the book “Ideologie e concetti in azienda. Un’analisi filosofica degli usi aziendali” [Ideology and concepts in the Firm. A philosophical analysis of company customs], ESI, 2017.

Davide Pala

Experts, Good Citizens, Democratic Public Debates and Global Warming

“Among climate experts there is an overwhelming consensus that (i) global warming is occurring, that (ii) this fact is alarming and that (iii) humans are causally responsible for it. Despite this, 16% of American citizens deny that (i) global warming is occurring, 48% of them question (ii) its seriousness, and 50% think that (iii) human activity has no role in causing it (Anderson 2011). These discrepancies can be observed in many other countries as well.

In this talk I will provide a normative framework to assess the attitude of those citizens that, like American citizens, in democratic public debates concerning the elaboration of public policies, mistrust experts,  i.e.  trustworthy  epistemic  authorities,  in  regard  to  beliefs  that  are  justified and  almost undisputed within the scientific community. I will argue that this attitude is bad, because citizens that show it do not possess the virtue of the epistemic trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities (ETITEA), which is demanded by the non-exhaustive ideal of the good citizens publicly debating in democratic contexts. According  to  this  non-exhaustive  ideal,  as  a  necessary  but  not  sufficient condition,  in democratic public debates citizens trust trustworthy epistemic authorities as a way to respect themselves and each other as peers in circumstances of epistemic dependence. In more detail, I will show that the virtue of ETITEA is required by three ideas specifying the non-exhaustive ideal of the good citizens publicly debating in democratic contexts, i.e. (i) the idea of rational citizens, (ii) the idea of reasonable citizens, and (iii) the idea of responsible citizens.

First, ETITEA is demanded by the idea of rational citizens (i). Rational citizens normally want to believe justified beliefs. Moreover, they want to act successfully, and know that justified beliefs lead to successful actions more than unjustified beliefs. Yet rational citizens know that in most domains, i.e. all domains in which they are not experts, they do not have first-hand evidence justifying the related beliefs, and cannot even acquire the expertise necessary to understand either the evidence or the claims relative to the evidence. In the light of this, rational citizens dismiss the idea of epistemic independence as irrational, acknowledge their epistemic dependence, and show trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities and their claims. In this way they can rationally hold beliefs in domains in which they are not experts, successfully act on their basis, and show respect to themselves.

Second, ETITEA is required by the idea of reasonable citizens (ii). On the one hand, reasonable citizens respect a reciprocity constraint, therefore they restrain themselves from publicly advancing unjustified and highly sectarian beliefs, because they do not meet almost uncontroversial scientific standards and would not be endorsed by everyone. On the other, reasonable citizens accept, among the burdens of judgement, the fact of epistemic dependence on epistemic authorities as a condition that all citizens (more or less) equally share. Both features lead reasonable citizens to acknowledge the need of ETITEA as a way to respect each other as peers in circumstances of epistemic dependence.

Third, ETITEA is demanded by the idea of responsible citizens (iii). Responsible citizens do not want to unduly harm others and know that public policies based on unjustified beliefs likely harm others. Also, they are aware that they cannot autonomously shape justified beliefs in those domains in which they have no direct expertise. Responsible citizens, therefore, in public debates concerning the elaboration of public policies show trust in trustworthy epistemic authorities in those domains in which they are laypersons. This is a way to respect both co-citizens and citizens of other countries.

Having elaborated this normative framework, I will employ it to assess the public mistrusting attitude  showed,  within  democratic  contexts,  by  citizens  toward  those  trustworthy  epistemic authorities addressing global warming, and argue that it is bad because it shows a lack of rationality, reasonableness, and responsibility. Finally, I will outline some public and feasible strategies that should be used to modify this bad attitude.”


Davide Pala is a Post-doc Fellow at the CAS-SEE of Rijeka. Previously he was a Post-doc Fellow at the “Fondazione Burzio” of Turin and a PhD Student at the University of Turin, in the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society. He was Visiting Post-doc Fellow at the University of Frankfurt (Justitia Amplificata) and at the University of Manchester (Mancept). He works in the field of normative political theory applied to international issues. In particular, his research focuses on global justice, world poverty and economic inequalities. On the matter he wrote several articles focused on institutional cosmopolitanism, capability approach, legal positivism and nationalism. He is currently developing a normative republican account of world poverty.

CARLO BURELLI

The Pure Normativity of Realism

“In this paper, I investigate the question of whether realism can provide a substantive normative standard to evaluate institutions. While classical realists focus on the individual dimension of political actors and their freedoms and responsibilities, many contemporary realists adopt broadly liberal values for political institutions. Drawing from discussions about the realistic conception of politics, I defend a functional understanding of politics as selection and implementation of collective decisions within a social group. A functional normative standard can then be derived: political institutions are ‘good’ when they adequately perform this function, independently of their moral qualities, in the same way a ‘good soldier’ is someone who is good at fighting (its function), independently of whether he is a good man. This normative standard is independent from morality and internal to politics. If being a good man requires abstaining from violence, one cannot be a good man (in the moral sense) and a good soldier (in the functional sense), similarly to how Machiavelli claimed that a good Christian cannot be a good politician. Realists not only claim this independence of politics, but often also its priority. The political function is vital, because it is required to preserve the survival of the social group and its individuals. This is the ‘pure’ normative dimension of political realism, which takes priority – but not exclusivity – over other moral considerations, and is thus ‘the first virtue of political institutions’ because those which do not express it cannot sustain themselves through time.”


Carlo Burelli is a current CAS Fellow at the University of Rijeka, where he works on a realistic theory of order, as the first virtue of political institutions. Previously, he had a two year Post-Doc Fellowship in the ERC Project REScEU where he investigated political conflicts and realistic forms of solidarity. He received his PhD in 2015 from Università Statale di Milano defending the thesis: “The Normative Power of Necessity: Making Sense of Political Realism”. In 2014, he was a visiting PhD at the University of Cambridge under Raymond Geuss. He has written articles on Political Realism (Towards a Realistic Conception of Politics, 2017), Solidarity (Realistic Solidarity for the Real EU, 2016) and the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (Lex Facit Veritatem, 2015; Subjectivity is Objective, 2017). He is also the author of a short monograph on game theoretic interpretations of Hobbes’s “state of nature” (E fu lo Stato, 2010).