What Does it Mean to ‘Act in the Light of’ a Norm?

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This paper examines Heidegger’s position on a foundational distinction for Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy: that between acting ‘in the light of’ a norm and acting ‘merely in accordance with it’. In section 1, I introduce the distinction and highlight several relevant similarities between Kant and Heidegger on ontology and the first-person perspective. In section 2, I press the Kantian position further, focusing on the role of inferential commitments in perception: this provides a foil against which Heidegger’s account can be
In section 3, I contrast this Kantian approach with Crowell’s highly sophisticated reading of Heidegger on care: I argue that, subject to certain conditions on how we view explanation, the two approaches are compatible and indeed mutually supporting. I close in section 4 by addressing an importantly distinct dimension of normativity, that marked by critique, broadly construed. I argue that we ultimately need to locate Heidegger in a context that runs from Kant’s ‘What is Enlightenment’ through Nietzsche’s Genealogy
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranscending Reason
EditorsMatt Burch, Irene McMullin
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Number of pages98
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Heidegger
  • Kant
  • Norm
  • Normativity


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