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9780521559607

The Sources of Normativity

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521559607

  • ISBN10:

    052155960X

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1996-06-28
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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Summary

Ethical concepts are, or purport to be, normative. They make claims on us: they command, oblige, recommend, or guide. Or at least when we invoke them, we make claims on one another; but where does their authority over us - or ours over one another - come from? Christine Korsgaard identifies four accounts of the source of normativity that have been advocated by modern moral philosophers: voluntarism, realism, reflective endorsement, and the appeal to autonomy. She traces their history, showing how each developed in response to the prior one and comparing their early versions with those on the contemporary philosophical scene. Kant's theory that normativity springs from our own autonomy emerges as a synthesis of the other three, and Korsgaard concludes with her own version of the Kantian account. Her discussion is followed by commentary from G. A. Cohen, Raymond Geuss, Thomas Nagel, and Bernard Williams, and a reply by Korsgaard.

Table of Contents

Introduction Onora O'Neill
Prologue: Excellence and obligation: a very concise history of western metaphysics 387 BC to 1887 AD
1. The normative question
2. Reflective endorsement
3. The authority of reflection
4. The origin of value and the scope of obligation
5. Reason, humanity, and the moral law G. A. Cohen
6. Morality and identity Raymond Geuss
7. Universality and the reflective self Thomas Nagel
8. History, morality and the test of reflection Bernard Williams
9. Reply Christine Korsgaard
Bibliography
Index.

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