On the Meta-Ethical Status of Constructivism: Reflections on G.A. Cohen's 'Facts and Principles'

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dc.contributor.author RONZONI, Miriam
dc.contributor.author VALENTINI, Laura
dc.date.accessioned 2011-04-19T12:49:20Z
dc.date.available 2011-04-19T12:49:20Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.citation Politics Philosophy & Economics, 2008, 7, 4, 403-422
dc.identifier.issn 1470-594X
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1814/16602
dc.description.abstract In his article 'Facts and Principles', G.A. Cohen attempts to refute constructivist approaches to justification by showing that, contrary to what their proponents claim, fundamental normative principles are fact-insensitive. We argue that Cohen's 'fact-insensitivity thesis' does not provide a successful refutation of constructivism because it pertains to an area of meta-ethics which differs from the one tackled by constructivists. While Cohen's thesis concerns the logical structure of normative principles, constructivists ask how normative principles should be justified. In particular, their claim that justified fundamental normative principles are fact-sensitive follows from a commitment to agnosticism about the existence of objective moral facts. We therefore conclude that, in order to refute constructivism, Cohen would have to address questions of justification, and take a stand on those long-standing meta-ethical debates about the ontological status of moral notions ( for example, realism versus anti-realism) with respect to which he himself wants to remain agnostic.
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher Sage Publications Inc
dc.subject John Rawls
dc.subject normative justification
dc.subject realism versus anti-realism
dc.subject methodological versus substantive principles
dc.title On the Meta-Ethical Status of Constructivism: Reflections on G.A. Cohen's 'Facts and Principles'
dc.type Article
dc.identifier.doi 10.1177/1470594X08095751
dc.identifier.volume 7
dc.identifier.startpage 403
dc.identifier.endpage 422
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dc.identifier.issue 4

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