Towards a semantics for metanormative constructivism

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Abstract

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 semantics respects the core intuition of the constructivist that normative claims are made true because of our practical commitments as agents and also reflects the constructivist’s commitment to the centrality of practical deliberation to normative truth. On our view, a normative claim of the form ⌜S ought to ϕ⌝ is true if ϕ is entailed from S’s set of evaluative attitudes. We argue that a virtue of our definition is that it allows us to see precisely what is distinctive about constructivism as opposed to realism and expressivism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3061-3076
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume176
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Keywords

  • Constructivism
  • Metaethics
  • Normativity
  • Ought

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