Morality, Agency, and Other People

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5 (2018)
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Constitutivists believe that we can derive universally and unconditionally authoritative norms from the conditions of agency. Thus if c is a condition of agency, then you ought to live in conformity with c no matter what your particular ends, projects, or station. Much has been said about the validity of the inference, but that’s not my topic here. I want to assume it is valid and talk about what I take to be the highest ambition of constitutivism: the prospect of grounding moral requirements in the conditions of agency. If this can be done, then we can show that everyone is bound by the demands of morality, and we can do so without the customary entanglements—queer normative entities, an implausibly powerful moral sense, or divine lawgivers.

Author's Profile

Kenneth Walden
Dartmouth College


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