•  1329
    Constructivism in Ethics (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2013.
    Are there such things as moral truths? How do we know what we should do? And does it matter? Constructivism states that moral truths are neither invented nor discovered, but rather are constructed by rational agents in order to solve practical problems. While constructivism has become the focus of many philosophical debates in normative ethics, meta-ethics and action theory, its importance is still to be fully appreciated. These new essays written by leading scholars define and assess this new a…Read more
  •  833
    Constructivism in metaethics
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2011.
    Constructivism in ethics is the view that insofar as there are normative truths, for example, truths about what we ought to do, they are in some sense determined by an idealized process of rational deliberation, choice, or agreement. As a “first-order moral account”--an account of which moral principles are correct-- constructivism is the view that the moral principles we ought to accept or follow are the ones that agents would agree to or endorse were they to engage in a hypothetical or idealiz…Read more
  •  492
    On Stephen Engstrom, The Form of Practical Knowledge
    Iris. European Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate 3 (6): 191-203. 2011.
  •  317
    The Authority of Reflection
    Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 22 (1): 43-52. 2007.
    This paper examines Moran’s argument for the special authority of the first-person, which revolves around the Self/Other asymmetry and grounds dichotomies such as the practical vs. theoretical, activity vs. passivity, and justificatory vs. explanatory reasons. These dichotomies qualify the self-reflective person as an agent, interested in justifying her actions from a deliberative stance. The Other is pictured as a spectator interested in explaining action from a theoretical stance. The self-ref…Read more
  •  234
    Respect and loving attention
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (4): 483-516. 2003.
    On Kant's view, the feeling of respect is the mark of moral agency, and is peculiar to us, animals endowed with reason. Unlike any other feeling, respect originates in the contemplation of the moral law, that is, the idea of lawful activity. This idea works as a constraint on our deliberation by discounting the pretenses of our natural desires and demoting our selfish maxims. We experience its workings in the guise of respect. Respect shows that from the agent's subjective perspective, morality …Read more
  •  213
    Respect and Membership in the Moral Community
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2). 2007.
    Some philosophers object that Kant's respect cannot express mutual recognition because it is an attitude owed to persons in virtue of an abstract notion of autonomy and invite us to integrate the vocabulary of respect with other persons-concepts or to replace it with a social conception of recognition. This paper argues for a dialogical interpretation of respect as the key-mode of recognition of membership in the moral community. This interpretation highlights the relational and practical nature…Read more
  •  206
    Value in the guise of regret
    Philosophical Explorations 3 (2). 2000.
    According to a widely accepted philosophical model, agent-regret is practically significant and appropriate when the agent committed a mistake, or she faced a conflict of obligations. I argue that this account misunderstands moral phenomenology because it does not adequately characterize the object of agent-regret. I suggest that the object of agent-regret should be defined in terms of valuable unchosen alternatives supported by reasons. This model captures the phenomenological varieties of regr…Read more
  •  174
    In this book, I consider whether the hypothesis of moral dilemmas undermines ethics' pretensions to objectivity. I argue against the view that moral dilemmas challenge the very possibility of ethical theory, as a practical and theoretical enterprise. By examining Kantian, Intuitionist and Utilitarian arguments about moral dilemmas, I show that no ethical theory is capable of avoiding them. I further argue that an adequate ethical theory should admit dilemmas. Dilemmas do not reveal a logical or …Read more
  •  143
    Morality as practical knowledge
    Analytic Philosophy 53 (1): 61-70. 2012.
    In his original essay, The Form of Practical Knowledge, Stephen Engstrom argues for placing Kant’s ethics in the tradition of practical cognitivism. My remarks are intended to highlight the merits of his interpretation in contrast to intuitionism and constructivism, understood as ways of appropriating Kant’s legacy. In particular, I will focus on two issues: first, the special character of practical knowledge—as opposed to theoretical knowledge and craft expertise; and second, the apparent tensio…Read more
  •  133
    The Mafioso Case: Autonomy and Self-respect
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5): 477-493. 2009.
    This article argues that immoralists do not fully enjoy autonomous agency because they are not capable of engaging in the proper form of practical reflection, which requires relating to others as having equal standing. An adequate diagnosis of the immoralist’s failure of agential authority requires a relational account of reflexivity and autonomy. This account has the distinctive merit of identifying the cost of disregarding moral obligations and of showing how immoralists may become susceptible…Read more
  •  130
    This paper takes a constitutivist approach to self-deception, and argues that this phenomenon should be evaluated under several dimensions of rationality. The constitutivist approach has the merit of explaining the selective nature of self-deception as well as its being subject to moral sanction. Self-deception is a pragmatic strategy for maintaining the stability of the self, hence continuous with other rational activities of self-constitution. However, its success is limited, and it costs are …Read more
  •  128
    Moral Objectivity: A Kantian Illusion?
    Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2): 31-45. 2015.
    Some moral claims strike us as objective. It is often argued that this shows morality to be objective. Moral experience – broadly construed – is invoked as the strongest argument for moral realism, the thesis that there are moral facts or properties.See e.g. Jonathan Dancy, “Two conceptions of Moral Realism,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 60 : 167–187. Realists, however, cannot appropriate the argument from moral experience. In fact, constructivists argue that to validate the ways we e…Read more
  •  128
    Morality and the Emotions (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    What is their relation to practical rationality? Are they roots of our identity or threats to our autonomy? This volume is born out of the conviction that philosophy provides a distinctive approach to these problems.
  •  120
    The appeal of Kantian intuitionism
    European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1): 152-158. 2009.
    No Abstract
  •  108
    Rawls on the Objectivity of Practical Reason
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (3): 307-329. 2001.
    This article argues that Rawls’ history of ethics importantly contributes to the advancement of ethical theory, in that it correctly situates Kantian constructivism as an alternative to both sentimentalism and rational Intuitionism, and calls attention to the standards of objectivity in ethics. The author shows that by suggesting that both Intuitionist and Humean doctrines face the charge of heteronomy, Rawls appearsto adopt a Kantian conception of practical reason. Furthermore, Rawls follows Ka…Read more
  •  105
    The exploration of moral life
    In Justin Broakes (ed.), Iris Murdoch, philosopher, Oxford University Press. 2011.
    The most distinctive feature of Murdoch's philosophical project is her attempt to reclaim the exploration of moral life as a legitimate topic of philosophical investigation. In contrast to the predominant focus on action and decision, she argues that “what we require is a renewed sense of the difficulty and complexity of the moral life and the opacity of persons. We need more concepts in terms of which to picture the substance of our being” (AD 293).1 I shall argue that to fully appreciate the n…Read more
  •  102
    Some contemporary philosophers, notably B. Williams and S. Wolf, argue that moral perfection is not just an unsustainable ideal, but also an unreasonable one in that it thwarts and demotes all the various elements that contribute to personal well-being. More importantly, moral perfection seems to imply the denial of an identifiable personal self; hence the paradox of moral perfection. I argue that this alleged paradox arises because of a misunderstanding of the role of moral ideals, of their ove…Read more
  •  84
    Kantian Constructivism and the Moral Problem
    Philosophia 44 (4): 1229-1246. 2016.
    According to the standard objection, Kantian constructivism implicitly commits to value realism or fails to warrant objective validity of normative propositions. This paper argues that this objection gains some force from the special case of moral obligations. The case largely rests on the assumption that the moral domain is an eminent domain of special objects. But for constructivism there is no moral domain of objects prior to and independently of reasoning. The argument attempts to make some …Read more
  •  79
    Blackburn sulla questione normativa”
    Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 30. 2000.
    Se è un difetto della ragione essere incapaci di adottare certi mezzi, allo stesso modo è un difetto della ragione essere incapaci di adottare certi fini, dicono i kantiani. Secondo Blackburn questa tesi non-strumentalista deve la sua apparente validità ad una fallacia modale. Dal condizionale «Se si adotta il fine X, è necessario adottare il mezzo Y», si deriva il conseguente «Si deve adottare il mezzo Y», ci si interroga sulla natura del modale che occorre nel conseguente, poi si ricostruisce …Read more
  •  72
    In symmetrical moral dilemmas, the agent faces a choice between two incompatible actions, which are equally justified on the basis of the same value. These cases are generally discounted as spurious or irrelevant on the assumption that, when there is no failure of commensurability, choice between symmetrical requirements is indifferent and can be determined by randomization. Alternatively, this article argues that the appeal to randomization allows the agent to overcome a deliberative impasse, b…Read more
  •  72
    Starting Points: Kantian Constructivism Reassessed
    Ratio Juris 27 (3): 311-329. 2014.
    G. A. Cohen and J. Raz object that Constructivism is incoherent because it crucially deploys unconstructed elements in the structure of justification. This paper offers a response on behalf of constructivism, by reassessing the role of such unconstructed elements. First, it argues that a shared conception of rational agency works as a starting point for the justification, but it does not play a foundational role. Second, it accounts for the unconstructed norms that constrains the activity of con…Read more
  •  65
    La pretesa di oggettività in etica
    In Gabriele Usberti (ed.), Modelli di oggettività, Bompiani. 2000.
    Sembra esserci almeno un punto di accordo tra i filosofi morali: i giudizi etici, così come li usiamo nelle nostre conversazioni quotidiane, condividono una certa aspirazione all’oggettività. Vi è invece un disaccordo piuttosto acerbo rispetto alla questione se questa aspirazione sia giustificata o non sia invece una mera pretesa. Il disaccordo filosofico riguarda, cioè, la questione se i giudizi etici debbano e possano aspirare all’oggettività. Ma ancor più fondamentale è il disaccordo rispetto…Read more
  •  64
    with Gabriele Usberti
    Topoi 21 (1-2): 1-10. 2002.
    The articles of this volume address only some aspects of Nozick's philosophy: his conception of argument, knowledge, rationality, and identity. In examining Nozick's approach to these topics, one has to take issue, ultimately, with his peculiar conception of philosophy whose manifesto appears at the outset of Philosophical Explanations and is echoed in the introduction to philosophical method of Invariances . To transform philosophy into a science or build an impeccable deductive system was not …Read more
  •  63
    Authority as a contingency plan
    Philosophical Explorations 22 (2): 130-145. 2019.
    Humean constructivists object to Kantian constructivism that by endorsing the constitutivist strategy, which grounds moral obligations in rational agency, this position discounts the impact of cont...