Normative Transmission and Necessary Means

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper focuses on the interaction of reasons and argues that reasons for an action may transmit to the necessary means of that action. Analyzing exactly how this phenomenon may be captured by principles governing normative transmission has proved an intricate task in recent years. In this paper, I assess three formulations focusing on normative transmission and necessary means: Ought Necessity, Strong Necessity, and Weak Necessity. My focus is on responding to two of the main objections raised against normative transmission for necessary means, in that they seem to give us reasons for buying tickets to plays we have no intention of seeing and that the principles give us the wrong result when the means are necessary but not sufficient. Even though these objections have been discussed previously, the counterarguments have so far relied on rejecting premises that the proponents of these objections are unlikely to concede. In this paper, I show how we may answer the objections in a way more likely to convince proponents of the objections. The result is an argument for a key aspect when it comes to understanding how reasons and ends-means normativity function. Normative transmission from ends to necessary means is not only interesting at the structural level, it is also possible to argue that it has implications for areas as diverse as philosophy of rationality, political philosophy and applied ethics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Normativity, Reasons, Necessary means, Means-end normativity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555–568
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr
Publication categoryResearch