Ethics 126 (3):549-574 (2016)

Chris Melenovsky
Suffolk University
Rawlsians argue for principles of justice that apply exclusively to the basic structure of society, but it can seem strange that those who accept these principles should not also regulate their choices by them. Valid moral principles should seemingly identify ideals for both institutions and individuals. What justifies this nonintuitive distinction between institutional and individual principles is not a moral division of labor but Rawls’s dual commitments to conventionalism and constructivism. Conventionalism distinguishes the relevant ideals for evaluating institutions from those for evaluating actions, while constructivism explains why this distinction is morally fundamental.
Keywords G.A. Cohen  Conventionalism  Constructivism  Institutions  Basic Structure  John Rawls
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/684715
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,464
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory.John Rawls - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (9):515-572.
Are There Any Natural Rights?H. L. A. Hart - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):175-191.
What is Constructivism in Ethics and Metaethics?Sharon Street - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (5):363-384.
Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice.G. A. Cohen - 1997 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 26 (1):3-30.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Object Constructivism and Unconstructed Objects.Justin Remhof - 2014 - Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):177-185.
Radykalny konwencjonalizm współcześnie.Trela Renata - 2014 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 4 (2):325-340.
Nominalism and Conventionalism in Social Constructivism.Paul Ernest - 2006 - Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal 19.
Conventionalism Revisited.Bogdan Ciomaga - 2012 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (4):410-422.
A Defense of Semantic Conventionalism.Sara Waller - 1999 - Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago
Plato on Conventionalism.Rachel Barney - 1997 - Phronesis 42 (2):143 - 162.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #515,864 of 2,520,750 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #405,718 of 2,520,750 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes