Constructivism in Metaethics

Nathaniel Nelson Jezzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent defenders of metaethical constructivism (like Christine Korsgaard, Sharon Street, Aaron James, and Carla Bagnoli) argue that this view can be shown to represent a new, free-standing alternative to familiar approaches in metaethics. If they are correct, traditional discussions in metaethics have overlooked an important position, one that is supposed to adequately explain the nature of our ethical thinking and practice while avoiding the kinds of objections that traditional views struggle with. However, what form constructivism should take and whether constructivists can make good on this ambitious claim remains extremely controversial. This article starts out with a brief account of the origins of contemporary discussions of constructivism. It then moves on to canvass the main motivations and arguments for constructivism along with the various ways in which the view has been interpreted. In the second half of the article, I introduce a serious challenge to the ambitious claim that constructivism represents a new, free-standing approach in metaethics and conclude by entertaining a very recent proposal that this challenge might overlook.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
JournalThe Internet Encycopedia of Philosophy
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Metaethics
  • Constructivism
  • Realism

Cite this