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How Hume and Kant Reconstruct Natural Law – Justifying Strict Objectivity without Debating Moral Realism - Oxford Scholarship Online
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How Hume and Kant Reconstruct Natural Law: Justifying Strict Objectivity without Debating Moral Realism

Kenneth R. Westphal


The differences between Hume’s and Kant’s moral philosophies are prominent in the literature. Focussing on them, however, occludes a decisive, shared achievement: a distinctive constructivist method to identify basic moral principles and to justify their strict objectivity, without invoking moral realism nor moral anti- or irrealism. Their constructivism is based on Hume’s key insight that ‘though the laws of justice are artificial, they are not arbitrary’. Arbitrariness in basic moral principles is avoided by starting with fundamental problems of social coordination, which concern outward beh ... More

Keywords: contractarianism, conventionalism, Euthyphro question, Hume, justice, Kant, moral constructivism, moral objectivity, possession and use rights, social coordination problems

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198747055
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747055.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kenneth R. Westphal, author
Bogaziçi Üniversitesi, Istanbul