What Kind of Constitutivism?


In many areas of practical philosophy, the idea of constitutive standards and norms has enjoyed increasing popularity over the last 25 years. In particular, many philosophers have become attracted to the idea that standards of rationality and / or fundamental standards of morality can be explained in terms of norms and standards constitutive for deliberating and acting. There has been considerable variety, though, in how the basic constitutivist idea has been developed. In particular, while many philosophers have appealed to constitutive aims or desires rational agents possess, others have thought it more promising to appeal to non-teleological or procedural standards constitutive for certain kinds of activities we cannot avoid engaging in, or for the exercise of certain rational capacities we must rely on in answering normative questions. Such kinds of approaches differ considerably with regard to explaining the rational inescapability of the moral or rational standards in question, and presumably the prospects of an 'aim or desire constitutivism' and an 'activity constitutivism' in answering well-known objections to constitutivism - such as David Enoch's shmagency objection - are quite different.

In the workshop we want to discuss which versions of constitutivism - aim or desire, activity, or rational capacities constitutivism, or yet some further option - is theoretically preferable, or whether their prospects are different for different normative domains.


Erasmus Mayr & David Heering

Location and Date:

FAU Erlangen, 04-05th of May 2024

The workshop is hybrid, with some speakers "zooming in". But we are happy about anyone who joins us in person in Erlangen. If you want to register, please send an E-mail to heeringdavid@gmail.com and tell us whether you'd be joining online or in person.

Please note also that there will probably a kick-off zoom talk on the evening of the 03.05.2024



The event is organised by the research project 'Capacities and the Good', funded by the German Research Foundation. Project Number: 439616221.


Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg