The Argument from Normative Consistency and the Goodness of Truth and Freedom

Christian F. R. Illies

in The Grounds of Ethical Judgement

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780198238324
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

The Argument from Normative Consistency and the Goodness of Truth and Freedom

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This chapter suggests a new transcendental argument of the retorsive type and shows how it can overcome the criticised insufficiencies of the traditional transcendental approaches. It seems that there are two moral judgements to which everyone (including the sceptic) is committed; namely, a judgement concerning the universal freedom to act and another concerned with the universal making of true judgements. However, the universal ‘must’ used in making these judgements is generated not by a threat of performative inconsistency, but by the threat of what will be termed a ‘normative inconsistency’. To deny the truth of these moral judgements would be a performative contradiction to certain demands which every rational free agent must necessarily impose upon himself implicitly by acting or arguing. The argument from normative consistency is discussed, along with truth and freedom as moral values.

Keywords: transcendental argument; moral judgements; freedom; moral values; normative consistency; truth

Chapter.  17366 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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