The Right and the Wren

In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 81-103 (2021)
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Metaethical constructivism aims to explain morality’s authority and relevance by basing it in agency, in a capacity of the creatures who are in fact morally bound. But constructivists have struggled to wring anything recognizably moral from an appropriately minimal conception of agency. Even if they could, basing our reasons in our individual agency seems to make other people reason-giving for us only indirectly. This paper argues for a constructivism based on a social conception of agency, on which our capacity to recognize ourselves as having reasons ties us inescapably to others. It argues that mutual recognition is a pervasive feature of linguistic concepts, and builds this into a view called transformative expressivism.

Author Profiles

Jack Samuel
New York University
Christa Peterson
University of Southern California


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