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  1. Transparency and the Ethics of Belief.Christopher Howard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1191-1201.
    A central dispute in the ethics of belief concerns what kinds of considerations can be reasons for belief. Nishi Shah has recently argued that the correct explanation of transparency in doxastic deliberation—the psychological phenomenon that only considerations taken to bear on the truth of p can be deliberated from to conclude in believing that p—settles this debate in favor of strict evidentialism, the view that only evidence can be a reason for belief. I argue that Shah’s favored explanation of transparency (...)
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  • The Revisionist’s Rubric: Conceptual Engineering and the Discontinuity Objection.Michael Prinzing - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):854-880.
    ABSTRACTThis paper is about conceptual engineering. Specifically, it discusses a common objection to CE, which I call the Discontinuity Objection. According to the Discontinuity Objection, CE leads to problematic discontinuities in subject and/or inquiry – making it philosophically uninteresting or irrelevant. I argue that a conceptual engineer can dismiss the Discontinuity Objection by showing that the pre-engineering concept persists through the proposed changes. In other words, the Discontinuity Objection does not apply if the proposal involves identity-preserving changes. Two existing views (...)
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  • Doing Away with the “Shmagency” Objection to Constitutivism.Hille Paakkunainen - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (4):431-480.
    Constitutivists attempt to ground reasons for action in the constitutive features of agency. Central to Enoch's famous “shmagency” objection to constitutivism is the idea that constitutivists should worry about the question whether there is reason to be an agent rather than a “shmagent”-where a shmagent is a non-agent being who lacks the constitutive features of agency, but is otherwise as similar to agents as can be. I explain why constitutivism isn’t in trouble even if there’s no reason to be an (...)
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  • Autonomy and Radical Evil: A Kantian Challenge to Constitutivism.Wolfram Gobsch - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (2):194-207.
    Properly understood, Kant’s moral philosophy is incompatible with constitutivism. According to the constitutivist, being subject to the moral law cannot be a matter of free choice, and failure to c...
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  • Kant: Constitutivism as Capacities-First Philosophy.Karl Schafer - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (2):177-193.
    Over the last two decades, Kant’s name has become closely associated with the “constitutivist” program within metaethics. But is Kant best read as pursuing a constitutivist approach to meta- normative questions? And if so, in what sense? In this essay, I’ll argue that we can best answer these questions by considering them in the context of a broader issue – namely, how Kant understands the proper methodology for philosophy in general. The result of this investigation will be that, while Kant (...)
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  • Formalism and Constitutivism in Kantian Practical Philosophy.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (2):163-176.
    Constitutivists have tried to answer Enoch’s “schmagency” objection by arguing that Enoch fails to appreciate the inescapability of agency. Although these arguments are effective against some versions of the objection, I argue that they leave constitutivism vulnerable to an important worry; namely, that constitutivism leaves us alienated from the moral norms that it claims we must follow. In the first part of the paper, I try to make this vague concern more precise: in a nutshell, it seems that constitutivism cannot (...)
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  • The Simple Constitutivist Move.Luca Ferrero - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (2):146-162.
    A common feature of all versions of constitutivism is the “simple constitutivist move” to the effect that engagement in any enterprise requires respecting the constitutive standards of the enterpri...
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  • Constitutivism and the Self-Reflection Requirement.Caroline T. Arruda - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1165-1183.
    Constitutivists explicitly emphasize the importance of self-reflection for rational agency. Interestingly enough, there is no clear account of how and why self-reflection plays such an important role for these views. My aim in this paper is to address this underappreciated problem for constitutivist views and to determine whether constitutivist self-reflection is normatively oriented. Understanding its normative features will allow us to evaluate a potential way that constitutivism may meet its purported metaethical promise. I begin by showing why constitutivism, as exemplified (...)
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  • Two Sorts of Constitutivism.Jeremy David Fix - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Some things, but only some things, are by nature subject to standards. Why? I explain a constitutivist answer to this question in terms of certain genera possessing essential properties which their particulars can possess or lack. When something is by nature subject to a standard, it is so subject because it is a particular of a genus with such properties, and it is subject to a standard with respect to those very properties. I then explain the account of the nature (...)
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  • Reasoning Under Scarcity.Jennifer M. Morton - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):543-559.
    Practical deliberation consists in thinking about what to do. Such deliberation is deemed rational when it conforms to certain normative requirements. What is often ignored is the role that an agent's context can play in so-called ‘failures’ of rationality. In this paper, I use recent cognitive science research investigating the effects of resource-scarcity on decision-making and cognitive function to argue that context plays an important role in determining which norms should structure an agent's deliberation. This evidence undermines the view that (...)
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  • Ethical Objectivity: The Test of Time.Carla Bagnoli - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):325-338.
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  • Practical Necessity and the Constitution of Character.Roman Altshuler - 2013 - In Alexandra Perry & Chris Herrera (eds.), The Moral Philosophy of Bernard Williams. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 40-53.
    Deliberation issues in decision, and so might be taken as a paradigmatic volitional activity. Character, on the other hand, may appear pre-volitional: the dispositions that constitute it provide the background against which decisions are made. Bernard Williams offers an intriguing picture of how the two may be connected via the concept of practical necessities, which are at once constitutive of character and deliverances of deliberation. Necessities are thus the glue binding character and the will, allowing us to take responsibility for (...)
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  • Conditional Intentions.Luca Ferrero - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):700 - 741.
    In this paper, I will discuss the various ways in which intentions can be said to be conditional, with particular attention to the internal conditions on the intentions’ content. I will first consider what it takes to carry out a conditional intention. I will then discuss how the distinctive norms of intention apply to conditional intentions and whether conditional intentions are a weaker sort of commitments than the unconditional ones. This discussion will lead to the idea of what I call (...)
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  • Constitutive Arguments.Ariela Tubert - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):656-666.
    Can the question "Why do what morality requires?" be answered in such a way that anyone regardless of their desires or interests has reason to be moral? One strategy for answering this question appeals to constitutive arguments. In general, constitutive arguments attempt to establish the normativity of rational requirements by pointing out that we are already committed to them insofar as we are believers or agents. This study is concerned with the general prospects for such arguments. It starts by explaining (...)
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  • The Shmagency Question.Matthew Silverstein - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1127-1142.
    Constitutivists hope to locate the foundations of ethics in the nature of action. They hope to find norms that are constitutive of agency. Recently David Enoch has argued that even if there are such norms, they cannot provide the last word when it comes to normativity, since they cannot tell us whether we have reason to be agents rather than shmagents. I argue that the force of the shmagency objection has been considerably overestimated, because philosophers on both sides of the (...)
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  • Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Reason to Believe in Accord with the Evidence.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3791-3809.
    Epistemic instrumentalists face a puzzle. In brief, the puzzle is that if the reason there is to believe in accord with the evidence depends, as the instrumentalist says it does, on agents’ idiosyncratic interests, then there is no reason to expect that this reason is universal. Here, I identify and explain two strategies instrumentalists have used to try and solve this puzzle. I then argue that we should find these strategies wanting. Faced with the failure of these strategies, I articulate (...)
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  • Authoritatively Normative Concepts.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
    This paper offers an analysis of the authoritatively normative concept PRACTICAL OUGHT that appeals to the constitutive norms for the activity of non-arbitrary selection. I argue that this analysis permits an attractive and substantive explanation of what the distinctive normative authority of this concept amounts to. I contrast my account with more familiar constitutivist theories, and briefly show how it answers ‘schmagency’-style objections to constitutivist explanations of normativity. Finally, I explain how the account offered here can be used to help (...)
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  • Epistemic Schmagency?A. K. Flowerree - forthcoming - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism & Antirealism. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Constructivist approaches in epistemology and ethics offer a promising account of normativity. But constructivism faces a powerful Schmagency Objection, raised by David Enoch. While Enoch’s objection has been widely discussed in the context of practical norms, no one has yet explored how the Schmagency Objection might undermine epistemic constructivism. In this paper, I rectify that gap. First, I develop the objection against a prominent form of epistemic constructivism, Belief Constitutivism. Belief Constitutivism is susceptible to a Schmagency Objection, I argue, because (...)
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  • Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Are there such things as moral truths? How do we know what we should do? And does it matter? Constructivism states that moral truths are neither invented nor discovered, but rather are constructed by rational agents in order to solve practical problems. While constructivism has become the focus of many philosophical debates in normative ethics, meta-ethics and action theory, its importance is still to be fully appreciated. These new essays written by leading scholars define and assess this new approach in (...)
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  • The Foundations of Agency – and Ethics?Olof Leffler - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (2):547-563.
    In this article, I take off from some central issues in Paul Katsafanas’ recent book Agency and the Foundations of Ethics. I argue that Katsafanas’ alleged aims of action fail to do the work he requires them to do. First, his approach to activity or control is deeply problematic in the light of counterexamples. More importantly, the view of activity or control he needs to get his argument going is most likely false, as it requires our values to do work (...)
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  • Can the Aim of Belief Ground Epistemic Normativity?Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3181-3198.
    For many epistemologists and normativity theorists, epistemic norms necessarily entail normative reasons. Why or in virtue of what do epistemic norms have this necessary normative authority? According to what I call epistemic constitutivism, it is ultimately because belief constitutively aims at truth. In this paper, I examine various versions of the aim of belief thesis and argue that none of them can plausibly ground the normative authority of epistemic norms. I conclude that epistemic constitutivism is not a promising strategy for (...)
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  • Neo-Kantian Constructivism and Metaethics.Kirk Surgener - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    Christine Korsgaard has attempted to defend a distinct approach to metaethics – Neo-Kantian Constructivism. Not only does she present a positive case for her own view, she also attacks existing metaethical positions and even the disctinctions that metaethics has traditionally relied on. This thesis is a sustained examination of this position. I consider whether Korsgaard can legitimately claim to be offering a metaethical position at all, providing her with some defence against the scepticism of some metaethicists. I also examine her (...)
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  • Aristotelian Naturalism Vs. Mutants, Aliens and the Great Red Dragon.Scott Woodcock - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (4):313-328.
    In this paper I present a new objection to the Aristotelian Naturalism defended by Philippa Foot. I describe this objection as a membership objection because it reveals the fact that AN invites counterexamples when pressed to identify the individuals bound by its normative claims. I present three examples of agents for whom the norms generated by AN are not obviously authoritative: mutants, aliens, and the Great Red Dragon. Those who continue to advocate for Foot's view can give compelling replies to (...)
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  • On Korsgaard’s Argument for Kant’s Moral Law.Amir Saemi - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    Kant’s formula of universal law says that it is morally impermissible to act on maxims which lead to a contradiction, when universalized. Korsgaard famously argues that we should understand the contradiction involved in Kant’s formula of universal law test as practical contradiction. In her later works, Korsgaard provides an argument for the truth of Kant’s moral law from the principles that are, on her view, constitutive of human agency, including the principle of publicity, the principle of universality and the hypothetical (...)
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  • Constitutivism About Practical Reasons.Paul Katsafanas - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 367-394.
    This paper introduces constitutivism about practical reason, which is the view that we can justify certain normative claims by showing that agents become committed to these claims simply in virtue of acting. According to this view, action has a certain structural feature – a constitutive aim, principle, or standard – that both constitutes events as actions and generates a standard of assessment for action. We can use this standard of assessment to derive normative claims. In short, the authority of certain (...)
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  • Inescapability and Normativity.Matthew Silverstein - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (3):1-27.
    When we make ethical claims, we invoke a kind of objective authority. A familiar worry about our ethical practices is that this invocation of authority involves a mistake. This worry was perhaps best captured by John Mackie, who argued that the fabric of the world contains nothing so queer as objective authority and thus that all our ethical claims are false. Kantians such as Christine Korsgaard and David Velleman offer accounts of the objectivity of ethics that do without the controversial (...)
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  • Nietzsche's Negative View of Freedom.David E. Rowe - 2014 - Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy 1 (21):125-143.
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  • Why Care About Being an Agent?Caroline T. Arruda - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):488-504.
    The question ‘Why care about being an agent?’ asks for reasons to be something that appears to be non-optional. But perhaps it is closer to the question ‘Why be moral?’; or so I shall argue. Here the constitutivist answer—that we cannot help but have this aim—seems to be the best answer available. I suggest that, regardless of whether constitutivism is true, it is an incomplete answer. I argue that we should instead answer the question by looking at our evaluative commitments (...)
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  • Constitutivism and Normativity: A Qualified Defence.Stefano Bertea - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (1):81-95.
    In this article, I defend a meta-normative account of constitutivism by specifically addressing what I take to be a fundamental criticism of the constitutivist stance, namely, the objection that constitutive standards have conceptual, not normative, force, and so that no practical normativity can be extracted from them as constitutive of agency. In reply to this objection, I argue that the conceptual role of the standards constitutive of agency? their applying to us by virtue of our being the kinds of creatures (...)
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  • Why Be an Agent?Evan Tiffany - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):223 - 233.
    Constitutivism is the view that it is possible to derive contentful, normatively binding demands of practical reason and morality from the constitutive features of agency. Whereas much of the debate has focused on the constitutivist's ability to derive content, David Enoch has challenged her ability to generate normativity. Even if one can derive content from the constitutive aims of agency, one could simply demur: ?Bah! Agency, shmagency?. The ?Why be moral?? question would be replaced by the ?Why be an agent?? (...)
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  • Inescapability Revisited.Luca Ferrero - 2018 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 41 (4):113-158.
    According to constitutivism, the objective authority of practical reason is to be grounded in the constitutive features of agency. In this paper, I offer a brief survey of the basic structure of constitutive argument about objectivity and consider how constitutivism might dispel the worry that it can only ground a conditional kind of authority. I then consider David Enoch’s original shmagency challenge and the response in terms of the inescapability of agency. In particular, I revisit the appeal to inescapability in (...)
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  • Starting Points: Kantian Constructivism Reassessed.Carla Bagnoli - 2014 - Ratio Juris 27 (3):311-329.
    G. A. Cohen and J. Raz object that Constructivism is incoherent because it crucially deploys unconstructed elements in the structure of justification. This paper offers a response on behalf of constructivism, by reassessing the role of such unconstructed elements. First, it argues that a shared conception of rational agency works as a starting point for the justification, but it does not play a foundational role. Second, it accounts for the unconstructed norms that constrains the activity of construction as constitutive norms. (...)
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  • The Uses and Abuses of the Personal/Subpersonal Distinction.Zoe Drayson - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):1-18.
    In this paper, I claim that the personal/subpersonal distinction is first and foremost a distinction between two kinds of psychological theory or explanation: it is only in this form that we can understand why the distinction was first introduced, and how it continues to earn its keep. I go on to examine the different ontological commitments that might lead us from the primary distinction between personal and subpersonal explanations to a derivative distinction between personal and subpersonal states. I argue that (...)
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  • Why Reasons Skepticism is Not Self‐Defeating.Stan Husi - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (3):424-449.
    : Radical meta-normative skepticism is the view that no standard, norm, or principle has objective authority or normative force. It does not deny that there are norms, standards of correctness, and principles of various kinds that render it possible that we succeed or fail in measuring up to their prerogatives. Rather, it denies that any norm has the status of commanding with objective authority, of giving rise to normative reasons to take seriously and follow its demands. Two powerful transcendental arguments (...)
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  • Constitutivism About Practical Principles: Its Claims, Goals, Task and Failure.Christine Bratu & Moritz Dittmeyer - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1129-1143.
    The aim of this paper is twofold: In its first part, we work out the key features of constitutivism as presented by Christine Korsgaard. This reconstruction serves to clarify which goals Korsgaard wants to achieve with her account and which of its central claims she has to defend in particular. In the second part, we discuss whether Korsgaard can vindicate constitutivism's most central claim. To do this, we analyse two important arguments - the argument from unavoidability and the argument from (...)
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  • Self-Validation and Internalism in Velleman’s Constitutivism.Michael Bukoski - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2667-2686.
    Metaethical constitutivists explain reasons or normativity in terms of what is constitutive of agency. In Velleman’s paradigmatic constitutivist theory, that is the aim of self-understanding. The best-known objection to constitutivism is Enoch’s shmagency objection: constitutivism cannot explain normativity because a constitutive aim of agency lacks normative significance unless one has reason to be an agent rather than a “shmagent”. In response, Velleman argues that the constitutive aim is self-validating. I argue that this claim is false. If the constitutive aim of (...)
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  • 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.
    Thomas Reid has the unusual distinction of arriving at a metaethical position very much like G. E. Moore’s via a route very similar to that employed by the Kantians. That is, Reid embraces a version of nonnaturalist moral realism by appeal not to open question-style considerations but to a particular account of agency. In this essay, we reconstruct Reid’s agency-centered argument for his constitutivist version of moral nonnaturalism, highlighting its commitments. Having presented Reid’s argument, we close by considering a prominent (...)
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  • Realism and Constructivism in Kantian Metaethics 1 : Realism and Constructivism in a Kantian Context.Karl Schafer - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (10):690-701.
    Metaethical constructivism is one of the main movements within contemporary metaethics – especially among those with Kantian inclinations. But both the philosophical coherence and the Kantian pedigree of constructivism are hotly contested. In the first half of this article, I first explore the sense in which Kant's own views might be described as constructivist and then use the resulting understanding as a guide to how we might think about Kantian constructivism today. Along the way, I hope to suggest that a (...)
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  • Meeting Constitutivists Halfway.Michael Ridge - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):2951-2968.
    Constitutivism is best understood as a strategy for meeting a set of related metanormative challenges, rather than a fully comprehensive metanormative theory in its own right, or so many have plausibly argued. Whether this strategy succeeds may depend, in part, on which broader metanormative theory it is combined with. In this paper I argue that combining constitutivism with expressivism somewhat surprisingly provides constitutivists with their best chances for success, and that this combination of views has some surprising benefits for both (...)
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  • Constitutivism and Inescapability: A Diagnosis.Christoph Hanisch - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1145-1164.
    A central element of constitutivist accounts of categorical normativity is the claim that the ultimate foundation of the relevant kind of practical authority is sourced in certain tasks, features, and aims that every person inevitably possesses and inescapably has to deal with. We have no choice but to be agents and this fact is responsible for the norms and principles that condition our agency-related activities to have anunconditional normative grip on us. Critics of constitutivism argue that it is exactly because (...)
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