The standpoint we share: An intersubjective constructivist account of normative reasons

John Mumm, Fordham University


I defend an intersubjective constructivist account of practical reasons. On this account, practical reasons are constructed from a deliberative standpoint that could be shared with anyone with whom we could enter into meaningful normative discourse. This view promises to avoid the most pressing challenge to metanormative constructivism: that it ultimately collapses into subjectivism. I argue that my account can save our everyday intuitions about normative objectivity, including the thought that there are correct answers to normative questions that do not depend on our individual desires and attitudes. ^ My argument advances in a few major stages. First, I argue that the problems facing realism are deep enough that we ought to explore anti-realist alternatives. Second, I argue that constructivism is our most promising option, but that popular versions of the view fail to capture our everyday normative intuitions. Third, drawing on arguments advanced by expressivists and contractualists, I argue that the function of normative discourse is interpersonal coordination. I refine this suggestion by arguing that this coordination involves co-deliberation from a shared standpoint. In fact, my contention is that our individual deliberative standpoints, insofar as they involve normative thoughts, are parasitic on this shared standpoint.^

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Recommended Citation

Mumm, John, "The standpoint we share: An intersubjective constructivist account of normative reasons" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3564935.