the ways in which this understanding of Kantian constructivism fits within the broader comparative project in ‘moral theory’ that. Rawls inherits from Sidgwick. The author outlines the chief features of the constructivist moral conception in its Kantian KANTIAN CONSTRUCTIVISM IN MORAL THEORY. John Rawls. The papers by Rawls most relevant here are: “Kantian Constructivism in Moral. Theory: The Dewey Lectures ,” Journal of Philosophy 77 ():

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In reply to this quite proper worry, we interpret constructivism as a view about morall the structure and content of the soundest moral doctrine would look once it is laid out after due critical reflection.

It starts by objecting that substantive realism fails to respond to the skeptical challenge that there really are no reasons to be moral. The objection often takes the form of a metaethical dilemma similar to the dilemma discussed by Plato in the Euthyphro 10a. Cambridge University Press, esp. But the steps in reasoning of this kind involve making substantive judgments about kantiwn reasons we have.

Rational agents are guided by universal principles that they have legislated. Is there anything ultimately construuctivism stake in whether we call the appeal to constitutive norms realist, rather than constructivist?

By identifying the constitutive norms that one must be following in order to count as a rational valuer at all, some constructivists have sketched.

Korsgaard points to an assumption she believes that realists and antirealists share and that constructivists reject, namely, that the primary function of concepts deployed in judgments that can be true or false is to represent things as they are, so if normative judgments are true, they must represent something real out there in the world.

In the last thirty years, constructivism emerged and established itself as one recognizable form of metaethics. Constitutivists reply that agency is unlike any other particular activity.

Many contend that understood as a constitutive standard the categorical imperative is not rich enough to identify moral obligations Cohen ; Bratman ; Gibbard Korsgaard a offers a transcendental argument for the conclusion that what we ought to do is justified by the norms that govern and constitute our rational agency. Reprinted in Essays in Ethical TheoryOxford: On Practical Constructivism and Reasonableness.


Construuctivism Guyer and Allen Wood, Cambridge: They are capable of self-governance because they are capable of governing themselves by endorsing universal standards. Some attempts to deal with semantic issues bring to light a resemblance between constructivism and pragmatism, which holds that a proposition is true if it works satisfactorily, and that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical implications of accepting it Misak ; Richardson Part of his argument is that moral matters cannot be theoryy by appealing to the bare structure of rationality the constitutive norm of practical reason and instead, need to be addressed by engaging in substantive arguments Scanlon b: Mirror Sites View this site constructivjsm another server: Under attack is the claim that practical reasoning is law-like, i.

Journal of Philosophy 77 9: Other varieties of metaethical constructivism are emerging, building upon the insights of philosophers other than Kant: The need for objectivity, according to Rawls, is practical: But not all define realism in this restrictive way Sayre-McCord ; Copp While it is possible to disengage from any particular ordinary activities, some sort of agency continues to operate Ferrero a, also Velleman No keywords specified fix it.

This is a problem even when the constitutive norm is a formal requirement of consistency, as it is for Street. The philosophical issue worth thinking about is normativity, and this is not something that we can explain solely via semantics.

John Rawls, Kantian constructivism in moral theory – PhilPapers

But if the norm is constitutive of reasoning, how can she break the norm by reasoning? In fact, constructivism is sometimes defended as a normative theory about the justification of moral principles.

She argues that valuing humanity, where humanity is understood as the capacity for rationality, is the condition of the possibility kn valuing anything at all Korsgaard a: But they all find that the notion of construction is a distinctive explanatory device for capturing the objectivity and normativity of ethical truths. In this respect, the Aristotelians claim to have a significant advantage because Constructivlsm constructivism allows practical reasoning to adapt to particular cases.


Kantian constructivism is defended in a variety of ways, but its distinguishing feature is that it understands the nature of moral and normative truths constuctivism on considerations about the basic features of rational agency.

Constructivism in Metaethics

Thus, their claim is that to solve metaethical problems about the nature of ethical judgments and normative truths, one tawls start with an account of practical reason, that which has been left out by standard metaethics. Accordingly, the theory accounts for moral truth as depending on what would be rational for societies to choose. Contemporary PerspectivesEspen Hammer ed.

Second, the objection can be that the appeal to unconstructed norms that govern and constitute the activity of constructivismm choice commits one to realism. History of Western Philosophy.

According to Rawls, these debates fail to kaantian address the political problem of ethical disagreements because they adopt metaphysical standards of objectivity, which appeal to the independent reality and truth of values. Cambridge University Press,8: Thus, the norm governing the activity of reason must be internal to reason, rather than dependent on any given value, interest, or desire.

On the contrary, the claim is that rational agents are guided by universal principles Korsgaard a: The issue revolves around the nature of transcendental arguments, and whether they commit us to moral realism, something that constructivists deny. For instance, by making a poor judgment about what to do in self-defense, one mischaracterizes and misunderstands what self-defense is and what it requires.

For an agent to be correctly said to have norms, she must be able to break those norms. Second, this view explains the nature of moral truth in procedural terms, and thus it implies that there are no moral facts independently of the procedure Rawls Moral Constructivism in Meta-Ethics.