Explaining norms and norms explained
and Frederick Eberhardtb
Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University and Institute for Human &
Machine Cognition Pittsburgh, PA 15213; b
Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences,
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720 and Department of Philosophy,
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130.
Abstract: Oaksford & Chater (O&C) aim to provide teleological explanations of behavior by
giving an appropriate normative standard: Bayesian inference. We argue that there is no
uncontroversial independent justification for the normativity of Bayesian inference, and that
O&C fail to satisfy a necessary condition for teleological explanations: demonstration that the
normative prescription played a causal role in the behavior's existence.