Constructivism and the normativity of practical reason

Nicholas Southwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Constructivists hold that truths about practical reasons are to be explained in terms of the exercise of practical reason in accordance with certain norms (rather than vice versa). But what is the normative status of the relevant norms of practical reason? The problem is that constructivism appears to presuppose the truth of two theses that seem hard to reconcile: first, that the relevant norms have a special normative status that goes beyond the minimal normativity of, say, the rules of snakes and ladders; second, that the relevant norms are prior to and independent of practical reasons. This chapter offers a new solution to the problem. The special normative status of the relevant norms derives from the fact that they determine what the author has called elsewhere truths about "the thing to do"-namely, truths about correct answers to the question of what to do.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Many Moral Rationalisms
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Print)9780198797074
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2018


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