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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Most constructivists about morality hold that the relevant sort of agreement of which moral reasons are the product jn best captured in terms of a hypothetical contract Scanlon ; Hill; Milo Enoch has further objected that, even when some sort of activity is always in place, this is not enough to say that the norms constituting the activity produce normative reasons for action for any one agent Enoch b.


In contrast to some kinds of realism, constructivism does not seek axioms or first principles or objective values on which to ground moral truths Bagnoli Reprinted in Essays in Ethical Theory theoyr, Oxford: Rather than providing an external foundation for morality, it holds that in forming our intentions and beliefs, we are answerable to criteria of correctness that are internal to and constitutive of the very exercise of rationality Korsgaard To this extent, this metaethical view shares the kanttian of Kantian constructivism to ground normative truths in features of rational agency.

Sentimentalism, championed by Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith, holds that ethical judgments stem from sentiments and regards reason as cinstructivism of moving us to action on its own.


It is doubtful that we could avoid all appeal to intuitions and unpromising Scanlon Stieb – – Ratio Juris 19 4: By identifying the constitutive norms that one must be following in order to count as a rational valuer at all, some constructivists have sketched a so-called inferentialist semantics for normative terms: Critics object that it is unclear whether and how they can be violated Cohen It is by conforming to these principles, Korsgaard argues, that one makes oneself into an agent.

Cambridge University Press, — Contemporary PerspectivesEspen Hammer ed.

However, not all constructivists share this view. Constructivism thus either grounds moral truths on arbitrary standards or collapses into realism.

For instance, Kantian constructivism appears to be grounded on the value of moral impartiality, which demands equal respect for persons Scanlon By contrast, the constructivist view is that there are objective criteria of moral judgment insofar as there are objective criteria about how to reason about practical matters. Thus, the norm governing the activity of reason must be internal to reason, rather than dependent on any given value, interest, or constructivjsm.

But if the norm is constitutive of reasoning, how can she break the norm by reasoning? When realism is defined more capaciously, it includes views according to teory moral judgments are made true by facts that depend on some mental states.

Constructivism in Metaethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Because they are reflective, rational agents have ideals about the constructivjsm of persons they want to be, and they can guide their minds and actions accordingly. Humean constructivism denies that normative truths are independent of the deliverances of practical reasoning Bagnoli The value of humanity is the condition of the possibility of all valuing. Because of its claim about the universal authority of reason and obligations, Kantian Constructivism is regarded as the most ambitious form of metaethical constructivism.


Nietzschean ConstitutivismOxford: Insofar as moral obligations are justified in terms of rational requirements, they are universally and necessarily binding for mmoral rational beings.

She argues that valuing humanity, where humanity is understood as the capacity for rationality, is the condition of the possibility of valuing anything at all Korsgaard a: Hobbesian theories occupy a prominent place in the contractualism debate.

The anti-metaphysical orientation of moarl is apparent in early defenses of metaethical constructivism.

If it is, then the constraints are not themselves constructed and acceptance of them commits one to realism Shafer-Landau While this criticism is addressed especially to Kantian constructivism, in some sense it conetructivism all views that appeal to constitutive norms of reasoning Ripstein ; Enochb. Kant embarks constductivism the project of vindicating reasoning, starting from very modest considerations about rational agency. Constructivism has become a major view in contemporary practical philosophy.

Constructivism in Metaethics

Science Logic and Mathematics. Some Kantians think that fictional Caligula constructivsim incoherent, even though not obviously so. Kant holds that all previous ethical theories have failed to account for moral obligation because they have failed as theories of practical reason Kant G 4: