The Moral Truth About Normative Constructivism

Stuart Toddington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Westpahl presents a model of Normative Constructivism encompassing Hobbes, Hume, Kant and Rousseau, and culminating in Hegel’s vision of Sittlichkeit. In endorsing the comprehensive moral anthropology of the latter, Westphal rejects the essentialist/objectivist rhetoric of Plato’s Euthyphro and invokes Hume’s alternative to Moral Realism expressed in the articulation of the view that what might appear 'artificial' and 'conventional' in our understanding of the rules (norms) of Justice does not necessarily imply that these rules are thus arbitrary. Westphal advocates a metaphysically agnostic Normative Constructivism based on separating our claims to what, on the one hand is deemed to be morally factual, and what on the other, is simply morally relevant. Whilst I acknowledge that this separation of claims is not only possible, but necessary, I argue that it is not, in any critically viable sense, consistent with the rejection of moral objectivism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages13
JournalThe Owl of Minerva
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2017


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