Acta Analytica

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 43–61 | Cite as

The End of Moral Realism?

  • Steven RossEmail author


The author considers how constructivism, presently known to us essentially as a theory for generating rules of social cooperation, embodies a certain conception of justification that in turn may be thought of as a general theory. It is argued that moral realism and projectivism are by turns platitudinous and unsatisfactory as conceptions of justification; by contrast the general conception of justification in constructivism makes sense of reason giving and coherent rivalry. The author argues that once the right picture of justification is in place, the picture constructivism illustrates or embodies, the problem of moral ontology disappears.


Constructivism Justification theory Moral realism Projectivism Norm-expressivism 


  1. Blackburn, S. (1988). How to be an ethical anti-realist” for this claim, and for the argument that it is a central feature of projectivism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 12, 361–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Milo, R. (1995). Contractarian constructivism. The Journal of Philosophy, 92(4), 181–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Railton, P. (1986). Moral realism. Philosophical Review, 95, 163–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rawls, J. (1980). Kantian constructivism in moral theory. The Journal of Philosophy, 77, 515–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Hunter College/CUNYNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations