Chapter

The Metaphysics of Normativity

Christine M. Korsgaard

in Self-Constitution

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199552795
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720550 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552795.003.0002
 The Metaphysics of Normativity

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The principles of practical reason constitute us as agents because they unify our agency, and the book argues that this is what makes them normative. Behind this account is a teleological metaphysics, especially clear in Aristotle, according to which the function of normative principles in general is unification. This chapter explains and defends this account. It also explains the idea of constitutive standards and principles, normative standards by which entities or activities are bound in virtue of the kind of thing that they are, and the importance of the associated notion of the defective. It defends teleology as grounded in our way of conceptualizing the world. It also argues that according to this metaphysical conception, life in general is a process of self-constitution, and appeals to this idea to address the paradox of self-constitution, the worry that we cannot constitute ourselves unless we already exist.

Keywords: activity; Aristotle; conceptualization; constitutive; defective; function; life; normative; paradox of self-constitution; teleological

Chapter.  8348 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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