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Misunderstanding Metaethics: Korsgaard's Rejection of Realism

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 1. Clarendon Press. pp. 265-94 (2006)

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  1. Recent work on normativity.Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Analysis 70 (2):331-346.
    Survey of some recent literature on normativity, including nonreductionist, neo-Aristotelian, neo-Humean, expressivist, and constructivist views.
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  • Contractualism as Restricted Constructivism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):571-579.
    Metaethics is often dominated by both realist views according to which moral claims are made true by either non-natural or natural properties and by non-cognitivist views according to which these claims express desire-like attitudes. It is sometimes suggested that constructivism is a fourth alternative, but it has remained opaque just how it differs from the other views. To solve this problem, this article first describes a clear constructivist theory based on Crispin Wright’s anti-realism. It then outlines an argumentative strategy that (...)
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  • What is constructivism in ethics and metaethics?Sharon Street - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (5):363-384.
    Most agree that when it comes to so-called 'first-order' normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted 'proceduralist characterization' of constructivism in ethics is (...)
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  • Nietzschean Constructivism: Ethics and Metaethics for All and None.Alex Silk - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (3):244-280.
    This paper develops an interpretation of Nietzsche’s ethics and metaethics that reconciles his apparent antirealism with his engagement in normative discourse. Interpreting Nietzsche as a metaethical constructivist—as holding, to a first approximation, that evaluative facts are grounded purely in facts about the evaluative attitudes of the creatures to whom they apply—reconciles his vehement declarations that nothing is valuable in itself with his passionate expressions of a particular evaluative perspective and injunctions for the free spirits to create new values. Drawing on (...)
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  • XV-The Limits of Normative Detachment.Nishi Shah - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (3pt3):347-371.
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  • Towards a semantics for metanormative constructivism.Jeremy M. Schwartz & Joel D. Velasco - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3061-3076.
    The status of constructivism as a metaethical or metanormative theory is unclear partly due to the lack of a clear semantics for central normative terms such as ‘reason’ and ‘ought’. In a series of recent papers, Sharon Street has attempted to clarify the central commitments of constructivism by focusing on the idea of a practical point of view and what follows from it. We improve upon the informal understanding provided by Street and attempt to provide a semantics for ‘ought’. Our (...)
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  • Realism and Constructivism in Kantian Metaethics 2 : The Kantian Conception of Rationality and Rationalist Constructivism.Karl Schafer - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (10):702-713.
    In the second half of this essay, I discuss the robust conception of rationality that lies at the heart of the Kantian version of Rationalist Constructivism – offering some reasons to prefer this conception to the more minimal accounts of rationality associated with Humean views. I then go on to discuss some of the potential metaethical advantages of the resulting form of constructivism.
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  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value.Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press USA.
    Section 2.1 identifies three notions of intrinsic value: the finality sense understands it as value for its own sake, the supervenience sense identifies it with value that depends exclusively on the bearer’s internal properties, and the nonderivative sense describes intrinsic value as value that provides justification for other values and is not justified by any other value. A distinction between final intrinsic and final extrinsic value in terms of supervenience is subsequently introduced. Section 2.2 contains a discussion of the debate (...)
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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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  • Against quietist normative realism.Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
    Recently, some philosophers have suggested that a form of robust realism about ethics, or normativity more generally, does not face a significant explanatory burden in metaphysics. I call this view metaphysically quietist normative realism . This paper argues that while this view can appear to constitute an attractive alternative to more traditional forms of normative realism, it cannot deliver on this promise. I examine Scanlon’s attempt to defend such a quietist realism, and argue that rather than silencing metaphysical questions about (...)
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  • Rawls on Kantian Constructivism.Nathaniel Jezzi - 2016 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 4 (8).
    John Rawls’s 1980 Dewey Lectures are widely acknowledged to represent the locus classicus for contemporary discussions of moral constructivism. Nevertheless, few published works have engaged with the significant interpretive challenges one finds in these lectures, and those that have fail to offer a satisfactory reading of the view that Rawls presents there or the place the lectures occupy in the development of Rawls's thinking. Indeed, there is a surprising lack of consensus about how best to interpret the constructivism of these (...)
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  • Epistemology shmepistemology: moral error theory and epistemic expressivism.Stephen Ingram - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (7):649-669.
    Some philosophers object to moral error theory by arguing that there a parity between moral and epistemic normativity. They maintain that moral and epistemic error theory stand or fall together, that epistemic error theory falls, and that moral error theory thus falls too. This paper offers a response to this objection on behalf of moral error theorists. I defend the view that moral and epistemic error theory do not stand or fall together by arguing that moral error theory can be (...)
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  • Three Rival Versions of Kantian Constructivism.Garcia Ernesto V. - 2022 - Kant Yearbook 14 (1):23-43.
    In order to make some headway on the debate about whether Kant was a constructivist, nonconstructivist, or instead defends a hybrid view that somehow entirely sidesteps these categories, I attempt to clarify the terms of the debate more carefully than is usually done. First, I discuss the overall relationship between realism and constructivism. Second, I identify four main features of Kantian constructivism in general. Third, I examine three rival versions of metanormative Kantian constructivism, what I’ll call axiological, constitutivist, and rationalist (...)
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  • Can there be a global, interesting, coherent constructivism about practical reason?David Enoch - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (3):319-339.
    More and more people seem to think that constructivism - in political philosophy, in moral philosophy, and perhaps in practical reasoning most generally - is the way to go. And yet it is surprisingly hard to even characterize the view. In this paper, I go to some lengths trying to capture the essence of a constructivist position - mostly in the realm of practical reason - and to pinpoint its theoretical attractions. I then give some reason to suspect that there (...)
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  • Constructivism, Expressivism and Ethical Knowledge.Matthew Chrisman - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):331-353.
    In the contemporary metaethical debate, expressivist (Blackburn, Gibbard) and constructivist (Korsgaard, Street) views can be viewed as inspired by irrealist ideas from Hume and Kant respectively. One realist response to these contemporary irrealist views is to argue that they are inconsistent with obvious surface-level appearances of ordinary ethical thought and discourse, especially the fact that we talk and act as if there is ethical knowledge . In this paper, I explore some constructivist and expressivist options for responding to this objection. (...)
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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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  • Kant’s Solution to the Euthyphro Dilemma.Jochen Bojanowski - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1209-1228.
    Are our actions morally good because we approve of them or are they good independently of our approval? Are we projecting moral values onto the world or do we detect values that are already there? For many these questions don’t state a real alternative but a secular variant of the Euthyphro dilemma: If our actions are good because we approve of them moral goodness appears to be arbitrary. If they are good independently of our approval, it is unclear how we (...)
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  • Kantian Constructivism and the Moral Problem.Bagnoli Carla - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1229-1246.
    According to the standard objection, Kantian constructivism implicitly commits to value realism or fails to warrant objective validity of normative propositions. This paper argues that this objection gains some force from the special case of moral obligations. The case largely rests on the assumption that the moral domain is an eminent domain of special objects. But for constructivism there is no moral domain of objects prior to and independently of reasoning. The argument attempts to make some progress in the debate (...)
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  • Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - New York: 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 semantics of moral communication.Richard Brown - 2008 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, Cuny
    Adviser: Professor Stefan Baumrin In the first chapter I introduce the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics and argue that metaethics, properly conceived, is a part of cognitive science. For example, the debate between rationalism and sentimentalism can be informed by recent empirical work in psychology and the neurosciences. In the second chapter I argue that the traditional view that one’s theory of semantics determines what one’s theory of justification must be is mistaken. Though it has been the case that (...)
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