Rationalist realism and constructivist accounts of morality

Philosophical Studies 126 (2):285-295 (2005)
This is a review essay about Russ Shafer-Landau's Moral Realism. In Moral Realism, Russ Shafer-Landau divides cognitivist moral theories between realist and constructivist versions, where constructivists characterize morality as necessarily connected to the responses of agents under some conditions. This division is misleading; some constructivist or response-invoking characterizations of ethics are fully realist. We need not deny that reasons must be able to motivate rational agents in order to vindicate realism. Rationalists such as Shafer-Landau are committed to the truth of response invoking necessary biconditionals connecting morality and reasons. Furthermore, reasons must be capable of governing the choices of rational agents. Thus moral judgements must be capable of motivating agents.
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