Chapter

A Problem for Ambitious Metanormative Constructivism

Nadeem J. Z. Hussain

in Constructivism in Practical Philosophy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199609833
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741913 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609833.003.0010
A Problem for Ambitious Metanormative Constructivism

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In his paper, ‘A Problem for Ambitious Metanormative Constructivism,’ Nadeem Hussain attempts to show that any view developed along constructivist lines which aims to offer a distinct metanormative position will face a version of Russell's Bishop Stubbs objection. One natural way to develop an account of the nature of normative facts leads back to reductive naturalism and is thus not metanormatively ambitious, since it does not give us a distinct metanormative view. The only alternative is to specify the constructive procedure (the procedure whose output constitutes normative facts, according to constructivists) in normative terms, that is, say that the procedure, when properly carried out, ought to yield a certain output. And that means that the fact that the procedure yields a certain output will itself be a normative fact. The constructivist will then have to say that this further normative fact must be understood as constituted by the fact that the procedure of construction yields yet a further output. The repeated application of the procedure will produce an infinite series of elements each one of which constitutes the obtainment of the previous normative fact in that series. But for any normative fact it is also possible to produce a parallel series in order to explain the obtainment of the negation of that fact. And, says Hussain, there are no facts we could appeal to in order to determine which of these two series is such that all its elements obtain and which one is not.

Keywords: constructivim; normativity; Russell; regress

Chapter.  7690 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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