Date of Award
Master of Arts
Stanislaus Husi, Andrea Westlund
A recent family of views known as constitutivism represents a novel attempt to ground metaethics in the nature of action. A key move constitutivists make is to ground “normative authority” in the nature of our practical commitments – or, in other words, in the inescapability of a practical point of view. In the following paper, I argue that normative authority can emerge from inescapability, and articulate the strongest form of this constitutivist strategy – one that sees the aim of action as self-understanding. I then explore a recent set of objections that claims talk of “inescapability” cannot get us normative authority. The upshot of this view is that any constitutivist strategy not supplemented by a traditional metaethical account will give us contingent and non-normatively authoritative aims. I argue that such contingency worries are largely toothless. Noting, however, that the worries do capture the problematically thin nature of the norms we can derive from a constitutivist project, I sketch a solution. I show that we can transform the constitutivist view into a constructivist metaethical account and that this provides the metaethical substance constitutivism might otherwise lack. Finally, I complete this metaethical project by showing what moral reasoning will look like, and how it is justified for the metaethical constructivist.
Argetsinger, Henry, "Constitutive Inescapability and the Search for Normative Authority" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 854.