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Constructivism in ethics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L014-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved December 05, 2020, from

Article Summary

There have been many forms of the idea that there are no distinctively ethical properties, and that ethical claims are composed or constructed out of other considerations. In some sociological writing the term is used for the view that ethics is artificial or socially constructed, for example out of social norms or attitudes. However, constructivism in ethics is now identified mainly with certain views not of the source but of the justification of ethics, which have their origin in Kant’s work and have been revived and developed by John Rawls. Constructivism in ethics seeks to show how substantive principles, and in particular principles of justice, can be built out of minimal, uncontroversial elements, such as a slender account of action and reason.

Citing this article:
O'Neill, Onora. Constructivism in ethics, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L014-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

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