Authored by: Michael Smith

The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138812208
eBook ISBN: 9781315213217
Adobe ISBN:


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There are many normative facts: we have reasons to perform certain actions, certain ­outcomes of actions are better than others, certain people are virtuous whereas others are vicious, and so on. What explains these very different normative facts? As I understand it, constitutivism is an answer to this question. According to constitutivists, normative facts of certain kinds are explained by facts about the constitutive features of something—that is, the features in virtue of which that thing is the kind of thing it is—where the constitutive features might be those of some person, or some action, or some state of affairs, or something else entirely. Constitutivists may disagree about this.

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