The purpose and plan of the Handbook is described herein. Key concepts in the contemporary literature on reasons and normativity are introduced, and the forty-four chapters that make up the main body of the Handbook are each summarized. In the process, important connections between the chapters are highlighted. A distinctive feature of the Handbook is said to be the way in which it surveys work on normative reasons in both ethics and epistemology, focusing, when appropriate, on issues concerning unity or lack of it in different domains. It is noted that discussions of reasons and normativity in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and aesthetics are also surveyed in the Handbook.
This article aims to bring some of the general underlying questions that hover in the background of meta-ethical discussions into the foreground and then to suggest some answers. An initial question that hovers in the background of discussions in meta-ethics is why we bother thinking about meta-ethical questions in the first place, as opposed to meta-level questions about other normative domains. Coming up with an answer to this question forces us to address a fundamental issue about the normative force of moral claims. It is uncontroversial that there are multiple systems of norms. There are norms of rationality, norms of morality, legal norms, norms of etiquette, professional codes of conduct, norms that govern games, and so on.