Functional Constitutivism’s Misunderstood Resources: A Limited Defense of Smith’s Constitutivism

Ethics 130 (1):79-91 (2019)


In recent work, Michael Smith argues that particular desires are constitutive of ideal agency and draws on his dispositional account of reasons to establish the normative significance of those desires. In a sustained critique, Michael Bukowski objects that Smith’s recent arguments that particular desires are constitutive of ideal agency rely on indefensible premises and his dispositional account of reasons is unable to establish the normative significance of such desires. On the contrary, I argue not only that Smith has the resources to respond to these objections but also that the form of Smith’s constitutivist explanation has unappreciated explanatory strengths.

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Kathryn Lindeman
University of South Carolina

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