Moral Construction as a Task: Sources and Limits

Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):214-236 (2008)
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Abstract

This essay first distinguishes different questions regarding moral objectivity and relativism and then sketches a broadly Kantian position on two of these questions. First, how, if at all, can we derive, justify, or support specific moral principles and judgments from more basic moral standards and values? Second, how, if at all, can the basic standards such as my broadly Kantian perspective, be defended? Regarding the first question, the broadly Kantian position is that from ideas in Kant's later formulations of the Categorical Imperative, especially human dignity and rational autonomous law-making, we can develop an appropriate moral perspective for identifying and supporting more specific principles. Both the deliberative perspective and the derivative principles can be viewed as “constructed,” but in different senses. In response to the second question, the essay examines two of Kant's strategies for defending his basic perspective and the important background of his arguments against previous moral theories.

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Citations of this work

Constructivism in metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Constructivism in metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A defense of political constructivism.Nicholas Tampio - 2012 - Contemporary Political Theory 11 (3):305-323.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Principia Ethica.Evander Bradley McGilvary - 1904 - Philosophical Review 13 (3):351.
Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - International Journal of Ethics 14 (3):377-382.
The Right and the Good.Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross & H. W. B. Joseph - 1933 - Journal of Philosophy 30 (19):517-527.

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