Zeitschrift für Ethik und Moralphilosophie

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 263–277 | Cite as

Realism, Constructivism, and Intuitionism. Outline of an Unorthodox Hybrid Theory

  • Bert HeinrichsEmail author


In this paper, I will suggest an unorthodox hybrid theory of ethical justification that combines, on an ontological level, a realist approach with constructivist elements. On an epistemological level, the realist part of the theory will be squared with an intuitionist account. Eventually, the suggested hybrid theory will take the form of an intuitionist ethics of persons. I will start with briefly sketching the ontological shape of the relevant concept of person whereby I will extensively draw on Kant and endorse a realist reading of his ethical theory (2.). Subsequently, I will explain why and how constructivist elements must complement the picture (3.). Then, I will focus on the epistemological shape of the theory. In particular, I will suggest an intuitionist reading of Kant’s doctrine of “the fact of reason” (4.). Next, I will briefly comment on classical intuitionism and on Bernard William’s notion of convergence in ethics (5.). Subsequently, I will compare my approach with Robert Audi’s attempt to refine a Rossian type of intuitionism (6.). Finally, I will revisit the charge of dogmatism that has traditionally been raised against intuitionism (7.).


Metaethics Realism Constructivism Intuitionism ethics of persons 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Wissenschaft und Ethik (IWE)Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine: Ethics in the Neurosciences (INM-8)Forschungszentrum JülichJülichGermany

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