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The Sources of Normativity

Christine M. Korsgaard (Cambridge University Press: June 1996), 289 pages.

Ethical concepts are, or purport to be, normative. They make claims on us: they command, oblige, recommend, or guide. But where does their authority over us come from? Christine Korsgaard identifies and examines four accounts of the source of normativity that have been advocated by modern moral philosophers — voluntarism, realism, reflective endorsement, and the appeal to autonomy — and shows how Kant’s autonomy-based account emerges as a synthesis of the other three. Her discussion is followed by commentary from G.A. Cohen, Raymond Geuss, Thomas Nagel, and Bernard Williams, and a reply by Korsgaard. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Notes on the contributors
    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction
    • Prologue: Excellence and obligation: a very concise history of western metaphysics 387 BC to 1887 AD    1
    • 1    The normative question    7
    • 2    Reflective endorsement    49
    • 3    The authority of reflection    90
    • 4    The origin of value and the scope of obligation    131
    • 5    Reason, humanity, and the moral law    167
    • 6    Morality and identity    189
    • 7    Universality and the reflective self    200
    • 8    History, morality, and the test of reflection    210
    • 9    Reply    219
    • Bibliography    259
    • Index    266