Laws of Nature, Laws of Freedom, and the Social Construction of Normativity

Kenneth Walden

in Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 7

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199653492
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741661 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Metaethics

Laws of Nature, Laws of Freedom, and the Social Construction of Normativity

Show Summary Details


This chapter develops a theory of categorical normativity, of those principles that have authority over us regardless of our ends and interests. It argues that there is an intimate connection between these norms and the conditions of agency. In this respect, it offers a version of constitutivism. But the version of constitutivism defended is unique in a few respects. First, it is naturalistic: agency is an emergent property, like the properties of biology and economics. Second, it is social: agency is something constructed by the complex interaction of agents. And third, it supports the normativity of a particular contractualist procedure: adhering to Kant’s Formula of the Realm of Ends is a condition on agency, and so a categorical requirement.

Keywords: constitutivism; agency; normativity; interpretation; Realm of Ends

Chapter.  20286 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.