What's in an Aim?

Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17:138-165 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Metaethical constitutivists seek to ground normativity in facts about what is constitutive of agency. One strand of constitutivism locates the foundations of normativity in constitutive aims, which are standardly conceived of in teleological terms. I present three challenges that show that the teleological conception of constitutive aims is inadequate for the constitutivist project. I then sketch an alternative conception of constitutive aims in the form of a commitment-based conception. On the commitment-based conception, actions and attitudes constitutively represent their objects as having certain properties, and their constitutive aims are fixed by the accuracy-conditions of these representations. Because such representations constitutively involve a commitment on the part of the agent to the object’s having the relevant property, they generate authoritative norms for the agent. I conclude that, unlike the teleological conception, the commitment-based conception promises to yield a unified constitutivism that delivers authoritative normative standards for both actions and attitudes.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Teleology and Normativity.Matthew Silverstein - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11:214-240.
What’s Wrong With Aim-Oriented Empiricism?Nicholas Maxwell - 2015 - Acta Baltica Historiae Et Philosophiae Scientiarum 3 (2):5-31.
Why Be an Agent?Evan Tiffany - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):223 - 233.
Constitutivism and Generics.Samuel Gavin - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):1015-1036.
Constitutivism and normativity: a qualified defence.Stefano Bertea - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (1):81-95.
Constitutivism without Normative Thresholds.Kathryn Lindeman - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (XII):231-258.


Added to PP

461 (#4,104)

6 months
229 (#89,709)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Keshav Singh
University of Alabama, Birmingham

Citations of this work

Belief as Commitment to the Truth.Keshav Singh - forthcoming - In Eric Schwitzgebel & Jonathan Jong (eds.), The Nature of Belief. Oxford University Press.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Deciding to believe.B. Williams - 1973 - In Bernard Williams (ed.), Problems of the Self: Philosophical Papers 1956–1972. Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press. pp. 136–51.
Mere formalities: fictional normativity and normative authority.Daniel Wodak - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):1-23.
Teleology and Normativity.Matthew Silverstein - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11:214-240.
The Varieties of Normativity.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - In Tristram Colin McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 567-581.
Anscombe on Acting for Reasons.Keshav Singh - 2020 - In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason. New York, NY: Routledge.

Add more references