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date: 19 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Given constructivism’s enduring popularity and appeal, it is perhaps something of a surprise that there remains considerable uncertainty among many philosophers about what constructivism is even supposed to be. My aim in this chapter is to make some progress on the question of how constructivism should be understood. I begin by saying something about what kind of theory constructivism is supposed to be. Next, I consider and reject both the standard proceduralist characterization of constructivism and Sharon Street’s ingenious standpoint characterization. I then suggest an alternative characterization according to which what is central is the role played by certain standards of correct reasoning. I conclude by considering the implications of this account for evaluating the success of constructivism. I suggest that certain challenges raised against constructivist theories are based on dubious understandings of constructivism, whereas other challenges only properly come into focus once a proper understanding is achieved.

Keywords: constructivism, reasons, normativity, practical reason, reasoning

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