On the meta-ethical status of constructivism: Reflections on G.A. Cohen's `facts and principles'

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (4):403-422 (2008)
Abstract
The Queen's College, Oxford, UK In his article `Facts and Principles', G.A. Cohen attempts to refute constructivist approaches to justification by showing that, contrary to what their proponents claim, fundamental normative principles are fact- in sensitive. We argue that Cohen's `fact-insensitivity thesis' does not provide a successful refutation of constructivism because it pertains to an area of meta-ethics which differs from the one tackled by constructivists. While Cohen's thesis concerns the logical structure of normative principles, constructivists ask how normative principles should be justified . In particular, their claim that justified fundamental normative principles are fact-sensitive follows from a commitment to agnosticism about the existence of objective moral facts. We therefore conclude that, in order to refute constructivism, Cohen would have to address questions of justification, and take a stand on those long-standing meta-ethical debates about the ontological status of moral notions (for example, realism versus anti-realism) with respect to which he himself wants to remain agnostic. Key Words: John Rawls • normative justification • realism versus anti-realism • methodological versus substantive principles.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1470594X08095751
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,803
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Ideal Vs. Non-Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.Laura Valentini - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):654-664.
What Distinguishes the Practice-Dependent Approach to Justice?Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (1):3-23.
In Defence of Fact-Dependency.Sem de Maagt - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (3-4):443-462.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
165 ( #29,335 of 2,202,725 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #44,496 of 2,202,725 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature