Research group

The project is based at the Practical Philosophy unit of the Faculty of Social Sciences in University of Helsinki, and is funded by a 3-Year Research Grant (2017-2019) from the University.

Teemu Toppinen is a post-doc researcher and the leader of the project. He specializes in metanormative theory, and in his own Academy of Finland project (Relational Expressivism, 2015-2018) he is developing an account of the nature and meaning of normative thought and talk (that is, of thought and talk concerning oughts, value, reasonhood, etc.). In addition to metanormative theorizing, Toppinen has done some work also, for instance, in normative ethics. In this project, he’ll be working on deference and testimony in relation to normative matters. Perhaps a little bit on moral intuitions, too. Recently, he’s also been trying to develop a challenge for epistemic conceptions of democracy. In the spring of 2018, Toppinen is visiting Edinburgh University.

Simo Kyllönen is a post-doc researcher, whose role in the project is to analyze the relationship between ethical expertise and democratic decision-making.  His research pays a specific attention to potential epistemic value of democratic decision-making and to the nature of epistemic failures of democracies, and applies this analysis to understand the role of ethical expertise in democracy. The research builds on some central themes of Kyllönen’s recent doctoral dissertation (Kyllönen 2017) as well as on the latest work done in the fields of democratic theory, political philosophy, and collective epistemology.

Ninni Suni is a doctoral student whose role in the project is to study how reliance on moral testimony affects responsibility attributions. The research combines insight from debates on moral testimony, culpable ignorance, and competing accounts of moral responsibility.

Vilma Venesmaa is a doctoral student working in the field of metanormative theory. In this project Venesmaa seeks an explanation for the apparent oddity of deferring to ethical expertise. The objective is to pin down the disanalogies between normative and non-normative deference and to determine whether the data they provide favor some particular views of the nature of normative judgement. This work will be a part of Venesmaa’s dissertation project in which she argues for and further develops a metanormative view known as expressivism. On this view the meaning of normative language is to be explained in terms of the motivational psychological states it functions to express.

contact: firstname.lastname @