Constitutivism and Transcendental Practical Philosophy: How to Pull the Rabbit Out of the Hat

Philosophia 44 (4):1185-1208 (2016)


Constitutivism aims to justify substantial normative standards as constitutive of practical reason. In this way, it can defend the constructivist commitment to avoiding realism and anti-realism in normative disciplines. This metaphysical debate is the perspective from which the nature of the constitutivist justification is usually discussed. In this paper, I focus on a related, but distinct, debate. My concern will not be whether the substantial normative claims asserted by the constructivist have some elements, which are not constructed, but real, given independently from us; instead, my concern will be more narrowly epistemic – whether those claims can be derived from premises, which are normatively less substantial than the normative conclusions themselves. I focus on Korsgaard’s transcendental articulation of the constitutivist argument. I conclude that more work would need to be done, in order for this argument to function as intended.

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Sorin Baiasu
Keele University

References found in this work

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.

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