Ambition, Modesty, and Performative Inconsistency

In Jens Peter Brune, Robert Stern & Micha H. Werner (eds.), Transcendental Arguments in Moral Theory. Berlin: de Gruyter. pp. 25-45 (2017)
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This chapter argues that the distinction between ambitious and modest transcendental arguments, developed and deployed by various authors in the wake of Stroud’s influential critique of transcendental reasoning, may be pointless when applied to transcendental arguments from performative inconsistency that have moral statements as their conclusions. If moral truth is assertorically constrained, then any modest moral transcendental argument from performative inconsistency can be converted into an ambitious moral transcendental argument. The chapter provides an account of performative inconsistency and suggests an alternative to the widespread reading of transcendental conditionals in terms of an ‘if-then’-sentences whose antecedents express a proposition to the effect that some x is possible and whose consequents express a statement to the effect that some y is actual.
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