Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2565-2574 (2015)

Peter Zuk
Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
In this essay, I claim that certain passages in Book IV of Benedict de Spinoza’s Ethics suggest a novel version of what is known as metaethical constructivism. The constructivist interpretation emerges in the course of attempting to resolve a tension between Spinoza’s apparent ethical egoism and some remarks he makes about the efficacy of collaborating with the right partners when attempting to promote our individual self-interest . Though Spinoza maintains that individuals necessarily aim to promote their self-interest, I argue that Spinoza has an atypical conception of self that allows the interests of other people to be partially constitutive of one's own self-interest. In this way, Spinoza can account for the rationality of concern for the interests of others . This interpretation attributes to Spinoza a form of constructivism that differs in important ways from contemporary Humean and Kantian constructivisms and which can in principle be detached from Spinoza’s particular metaphysical commitments in order to yield a third general category of constructivist view . Though my treatment is necessarily brief, it is my hope that it can serve both to motivate a constructivist reading of Spinoza and, perhaps even more crucially, to suggest a Spinozistic variety of constructivism as a live theoretical option in metaethics
Keywords Metaethics  Constructivism  Individuation  Personal identity  Spinoza
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0428-3
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory.John Rawls - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (9):515-572.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mill's Metaethical Non-Cognitivism.Peter Zuk - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (3):271-293.

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