Section Co-Chair. Section Topic Kantian constructivism is one of the most recent and important developments in political and moral theory. Rawls  Similar concerns were also discussed by many other contemporary influential philosophers. During the last three decades, the debates around constructivism have raged and continue to preoccupy moral and political theorists.
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Such debates have also produced alternative theories that attempt to improve on constructivism — for instance, constructionism Krasnoff , constructivist contractualism Timmons or constitutivism Korsgaard Debates have concerned metaphysical issues concerning the nature of values and norms, epistemological issues with regard to the possibility of knowing such values and norms, and metaethical issues about the justification of such norms and values. The proposed section will explore the most significant debates and their political implications in relation to a range of concrete questions, including: human rights, welfare, citizenship, property, human imperfection and legal legitimacy.
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Kant and Kantian Constructivism in Moral and Political Philosophy
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Request Username Can't sign in? Forgot your username? Enter your email address below and we will send you your username. If on the other hand they leave the standards of inquiry only very abstractly sketched, they open themselves to the possibility that norms of moral inquiry, and as a result moral norms themselves, would branch if inquiry were to take different paths. On the contrary, according to them, you can take a normative stance without thereby being committed to any particular metaethical position.
In a twin paper they have emphasized the compatibility of her view with realism, whereas in this paper they emphasize the compatibility of her view with non-cognitivism. Copp argues that constructivist views are forms of moral naturalism, by which he means mind dependent, non-error-theoretical realist positions, and therefore the debate about whether we should prefer constructivism to realism or vice versa is moot. Firstly, constructivists characterize the truth conditions of moral claims in terms of the output of certain hypothetical procedures of deliberation, whereas other naturalists do so in terms of non-procedural states of affairs.
And secondly, constructivists claim that the outputs of the aforementioned procedures constitute the moral facts, or, in other words, that true moral claims are true because certain hypothetical procedures yield certain results, whereas other naturalists think that our moral claims are true because of facts that are independent of these procedures. However, says Copp, these two differences are unimportant.
On these two debates constructivists and other naturalists take the same side. The differences between constructivism and other forms of moral naturalism are unimportant according to Copp because they do not locate the theories in question on different sides of any significant metaethical divide. The significant metaethical questions need not divide constructivists and other naturalists. Let us assume for the sake of argument that Copp is right and that most constructivists are willing to adopt the ontological commitments of naturalist realism.
Does this mean that there is nothing distinctive and of metaethical importance in the constructivist position? To see what is distinctive and metaethically significant about the constructivist project we need to focus on the second difference, discussed by Copp, between constructivists and other naturalists. Constructivists argue that the truth of moral claims is constituted by the output of certain reasoning procedures, but contra Copp they also argue that this fact offers us some insight into the nature of moral truth that cannot be captured by non-constructivist views.
Consider first how the relation between moral truths and our reasoning capacities is seen from a third person perspective.
To deliberate is to reason practically. So as theorists we cannot be sure that we have correctly located moral truths unless we have a grasp of those deliberative capacities and the reasoning procedures that give us these capacities.
This explains why a theoretical understanding of our deliberative capacities is necessary to identify moral truths, but it does not yet explain why moral truths must be constituted by the outputs of our reasoning procedures. Then, says the constructivist, consider the position of a reasoning agent who herself is unsure what norms she should be guided by. Since such an agent is not yet sure which norms she should follow she must characterize them as those norms that her reasoning procedures will treat as reasons. Thus, from the deliberative perspective, says the constructivist, moral truths are constituted by the output of our reasoning procedures.
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Any attempt to give a non-procedural naturalist account of these norms cannot explain how an agent who is trying to find a justification for her actions can come to recognize that certain norms and not others are justified. Take, for example, the naturalist position according to which we should do whatever satisfies our needs. If you already judge that you should do what satisfies your needs, you are not in the deliberative position. You have already concluded the most important step in the process of deliberation. But as long as you are still deliberating you have no way of knowing whether doing what satisfies your needs is the right thing to do until you check whether you would reach this conclusion if you were to follow ideal procedures of reasoning.
Thus, says the constructivist, these reasoning procedures are constitutive of what it is to be a moral truth.