Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Constructivism in Practical Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

James Lenman and Yonatan Shemmer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199609833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609833.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 22 June 2018

The Appeal and Limits of Constructivism 1

The Appeal and Limits of Constructivism 1

Chapter:
(p.226) The Appeal and Limits of Constructivism1
Source:
Constructivism in Practical Philosophy
Author(s):

T. M. Scanlon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609833.003.0013

Scanlon's chapter seeks to compare constructivism as a position in moral philosophy with constructivist views about mathematics and set theory. In both cases we have a subject matter that raises philosophical difficulties. In both cases it is not clear what grounds our judgments; to what extent their truth is independent of us and how we can discover facts about the subject matter simply by thinking and reasoning about it. In the case of arithmetic and, more tentatively, in the more complex case of set theory, Scanlon urges that we can make significant headway with such questions without engaging in “second-order” metaphysical theorizing but simply by characterising the subject matter in first order terms, that is, with concepts internal to these domains. Such an enterprise might be constructivist if it characterizes its target domain in terms of some constructive procedure. But this constructive procedure will eventually be grounded in foundational judgments whose validity cannot be established by the constructive procedure, but are rather justified by reflective equilibrium where the method of reflective equilibrium is not itself a constructive procedure. Rawls' constructivist account of justice takes justice and Scanlon's own contractualist account of right and wrong are constructivist in a similar way. In the final pages of his chapter, Scanlon raises some doubts as to the possibility of a constructivist account of reasons quite generally.

Keywords:   constructivim, morality, mathematics, reflective equilibrium, reasons  

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .