Constructivism, Agency, and the Problem of Alignment

Michael E. Bratman

in Constructivism in Practical Philosophy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199609833
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741913 | DOI:
Constructivism, Agency, and the Problem of             Alignment

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Constructivists believe that our judgments about reasons are justified iff they are the output of a (specified) process of reasoning. In particular a few constructivists see the process of reasoning as a process of submitting the judgments we wish to justify to scrutiny from the standpoint of the agent's other judgments about reasons. Call the judgment whose justification is in question the output judgment and call the judgments from whose perspective it is scrutinized the input judgments. In his paper, “Constructivism, Agency, and The Problem of Alignment”, Michael Bratman reminds us of the pressures we must take into account when we come to understand the nature of both the input and the output judgments. He then raises the worry that given these pressures and the nature of the process of scrutiny the constructivist might find herself with judgments of incompatible nature. The problem is that the judgments that are supposed, according to some constructivists, to serve as the input to the process of normative reasoning are conative attitudes such as love and caring. Whereas the output attitudes are normative judgments, that are supposed to be subject to standards of intersubjective convergence. And it is not clear how, given the supposed formal nature of the process of reasoning, the latter can be the output of a process that starts with the former.

Keywords: constructivism; reasoning; normative judgments; desires; convergence

Chapter.  9515 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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