Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (4):887-902 (2018)

Sem de Maagt
Utrecht University
Christine Korsgaard’s argument for the claim that one should not only value one’s own humanity but also the humanity of all other persons, ‘the publicity of reasons argument’, has been heavily criticized and I believe rightly so. However, both in an early paper and in her most recent work, Korsgaard does not rely on controversial, Wittgensteinian ideas regarding the publicity of reasons, but instead she uses a different argument to justify interpersonal morality, which I will refer to as ‘the argument from the sufficiency of agency’. The goal of this paper is to evaluate whether the argument from the sufficiency of agency can succeed where the publicity of reasons argument fails. I will argue that although the argument from the sufficiency of agency is potentially more promising, it fails to justify a categorical and universal principle of interpersonal morality. I argue, however, that this failure has less to do with the argument from the sufficiency of agency itself and more with Korsgaard’s specific version of it. This leaves open the possibility that other Kantian constructivist arguments from the sufficiency of agency might be more successful.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-018-9925-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,513
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Sources of Normativity.Christine Korsgaard - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):384-394.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Why Humean Constructivists Should Become Kantian Constructivists.Sem de Maagt - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (3):280-293.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Reassessing the Foundations of Korsgaard’s Approach to Ethics.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2017 - Dialegesthai. Rivista Telematica di Filosofia:online.
Reid on the Autonomy of Ethics: From Active Power to Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo & Randall Harp - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (4):523-541.
Christine Korsgaard’s Self-Constitution.Randall Harp & Terence Cuneo - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (1):97-110.
Agency Incompatibilism and Divine Agency.Helen Steward - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (3):67--78.
Korsgaard’s Private-Reasons Argument.Joshua Gert - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):303-324.
Agency and Responsibility.Fritz J. McDonald - 2010 - Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (2):199-207.
Korsgaard’s Private-Reasons Argument.Joshua Gert - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):303-324.
How to Argue for the Value of Humanity.Adrienne Martin - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):96-125.


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #471,193 of 2,446,457 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #310,148 of 2,446,457 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes