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Oxford Studies in Metaethics11$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784647.001.0001

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Agents and “Shmagents”

Agents and “Shmagents”

An Essay on Agency and Normativity

Chapter:
(p.182) 8 Agents and “Shmagents”
Source:
Oxford Studies in Metaethics
Author(s):

Connie S. Rosati

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784647.003.0008

The idea that normativity and agency are importantly connected goes back at least as far as Kant. But it has recently become associated with a view called “constitutivism.” Perhaps the best-known critique of constitutivism appears in David Enoch’s article, “Agency, Shmagency,” which is the focus of this chapter. His critique of my article, “Agency and the Open Question Argument,” is briefly addressed, explaining why, contrary to his claims, I do not therein defend a form of constitutivism. It is then explained why his “shmagency challenge” does not effectively expose the real challenge faced by those who might wish to develop constitutivist theories. Finally, the chapter considers why we should take seriously the idea that normativity and agency are importantly connected, an idea that neither Enoch’s challenge nor the challenge articulated for constitutivism here does anything to defeat. Enoch has not shown that normativity won’t come from what is constitutive of agency.

Keywords:   agency, constitutivism, David Enoch, open question argument, normativity, shmagency

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