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Return to Book Page. The Sources of Normativity by Christine M. 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 a Ethical concepts are, or purport to be, normative. 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. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 7th by Cambridge University Press.
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Sort order. Start your review of The Sources of Normativity. Jun 07, Anthony rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: people who value things, people with identities. Shelves: lazy-summer-reading , philosophy. Somewhere in the middle of this book you get the feeling that you may, in fact, be a Kantian. Thankfully, that goes away by the end, but at that point you've been overwhelmed by the excellent commentaries by Cohen, Guess, and Williams and to a less extent Nagel, although he mostly just confused me.
Philosophy should always be in lecture form and always be this exciting. View all 3 comments. Oct 15, C rated it it was ok. Korsgaard is attempting to develop a neo-kantian ethic. Interestingly enough she does this both analytically and dialectically. Analytically in the sense that all her arguments are logical, and always attempting to contain a valid form. Dialectically, in that she is trying to take the good side out of voluntarism, emotivism, realism, etc.
Unfortunately the book largely fails, in my opinion. Korsgaard makes one too many logical leaps, in the traditional ca Korsgaard is attempting to develop a neo-kantian ethic.
Korsgaard makes one too many logical leaps, in the traditional callous Kantian sense, of thinking just because someone does reason X, they will and must do X. Not they ought to do X, they must and will. This is a categorically different claim then the standard normative claim of one ought to do X, and it is one that is demonstrable false.
But let's start at the beginning and watch the failure unfold. First of all, Korsgaard wants to ask "the normative question," that is, what justifies the claims morality makes on us.
Because this question is found in reflective thought, the conclusion must be found there too. That's a non-sequitur. Because our reflection distances us from the emotional and desirable route of action, this means we must act for reasons. Again a non-sequitur. I can rationally deliberate about X, and still choose to take the purely emotional route I would have taken, even if I had not deliberated. For Korsgaard, our universal human nature is what allows us to all act reflectively.
Like a psychological egoist, she is reading back into the action a mental framework that fits her theory, but at the moment of action X, it is not absolutely certain that the action was performed out of reason, and not emotion moments of love, and anxiety, attest to this.
There are more reasons to criticize this work, but I might as well end here. If you're interested in a neo-kantian argument, and one of the foremost neo-kantians, read her. If you're not, move along. View all 18 comments.
Aug 22, Daniel Tovar rated it liked it. Like much of Korsgaard's work, I found it interesting but seriously mistaken. View 2 comments. Feb 01, Ross rated it really liked it Shelves: favorite-philosophy. Your reasons express your identity, your nature; your obligations spring from what that identity forbids.
That is, it is to no longer be able to think of yourself under the description under which you value yourself and find your life to be worth living and your actions to be worth undertaking. It is to be for all practical purposes dead or worse than dead.
Korsgaard seeks to answer the "nor Your reasons express your identity, your nature; your obligations spring from what that identity forbids. Korsgaard seeks to answer the "normative question": what justifies the claims that morality makes on us?
In addition to addressing how and why moral ideas can have important practical and psychological effects on us, she also attempts to justify granting this kind of importance to morality. Her account is Kantian, with an emphasis on practical identity. The responses from Cohen, Nagel, Guess, and Williams fail to damage her project too much, before she provides a thorough and convincing reply in the final section of the book the benefit of being the author of the book, I suppose.
Nagel's objections seem to me the most convincing of the four, but it is worth reading The Sources of Normativity for anyone who wants to decide for themselves. Feb 02, Alina rated it really liked it. Korsgaard presents a stunning Kantian theory of ethics in a series of lectures.
Her writing is lucid and more readable than most philosophical texts, given its lecture format. Her ideas are humanistic, and even existentialist, while preserving the best of Kant's transcendental method and ideas. Korsgaard argues that Kant's arguments from the autonomy of reason fail to analytically entail that we ought to act under the categorical imperative, as the Kingdom of Ends formulation, in order to be fre Korsgaard presents a stunning Kantian theory of ethics in a series of lectures.
Korsgaard argues that Kant's arguments from the autonomy of reason fail to analytically entail that we ought to act under the categorical imperative, as the Kingdom of Ends formulation, in order to be free. Rather, Kant's arguments can show we ought to act in accordance with universal laws - but not particularly in accordance with treating every human as an end in herself. Moreover, Kant's formulations of the categorical imperative are ambiguous on how "wide" we should consider the circle of people for whom our maxim ought to be able to be universalized.
Korsgaard provides further arguments that, when supplied with Kant's, defends his full conclusions; her arguments also, in effect, provide principles that could determine the scope of the application of the categorical imperative, given a particular maxim.
Korsgaard introduces the concept of "practical identity": a person's practical identity is her conceptualization of her social roles and duties, which define her selfhood, interests, and needs. Maxims for which a person wills should be universalizable up to to the circle of people who share her practical identity. For example, if I am a friend to someone, I want to make sure my actions, when I embody this role, could be performed by all people who are friends to others without contradiction, and with approval by my rational evaluation.
This solves the scope problem. To defend the Kingdom of Ends conclusion, Korsgaard argues that all of us share one aspect of our practical identity: the identity of being a human being. This is the foundation of all other aspects of our practical identity; I can be a friend only if I am a human.
This foundational identity is the source of all value and normativity. If I encounter any value in the world e. I can value something only if I regard myself as dignified and worthy, to have interests and needs that deserve being satisfied. Taking any value presupposes myself as an end. And I am not the only human.
The Sources of Normativity
Sign in Create an account. Syntax Advanced Search. About us. Editorial team. Radical Philosophy forthcoming. Meena Dhanda University of Wolverhampton.
Christine M. Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity
The Sources of Normativity. Christine M. Ethical concepts are, or purport to be, normative. They make claims on us: they command, oblige, recommend, or guide. Or at least when we invoke them, we make claims on one another; but where does their authority over us - or ours over one another - come from?