Massimi, Michela. Working in a new world: Kuhn, constructivism, and mind-dependence
2015, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 50: 83-89.
Added by: Jamie CollinAbstract: In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn famously advanced the claim that scientists work in a different world after a scientific revolution. Kuhn's view has been at the center of a philosophical literature that has tried to make sense of his bold claim, by listing Kuhn's view in good company with other seemingly constructivist proposals. The purpose of this paper is to take some steps towards clarifying what sort of constructivism (if any) is in fact at stake in Kuhn's view. To this end, I distinguish between two main (albeit not exclusive) notions of mind-dependence: a semantic notion and an ontological one. I point out that Kuhn's view should be understood as subscribing to a form of semantic mind-dependence, and conclude that semantic mind-dependence does not land us into any worrisome ontological mind-dependence, pace any constructivist reading of Kuhn.
Comment: Useful for undergraduate and postgraduate philosophy of science courses. Helps to clarify key concepts in Kuhn's work.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Street, Sharon. What is Constructivism in Ethics and Metaethics?
2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (5):363-384.
Added by: Graham Bex-PriestleyAbstract: Most agree that when it comes to so-called 'first-order' normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted 'proceduralist characterization' of constructivism in ethics is inadequate, and I propose what I call the 'practical standpoint characterization' in its place. I then offer a general taxonomy of constructivist positions in ethics. Since constructivism's standing as a family of substantive normative positions is relatively uncontested, I devote the remainder of the paper to addressing skeptics' worries about the distinctiveness of constructivism understood as a metaethical view. I compare and contrast constructivism with three other standard metaethical positions with which it is often confused or mistakenly thought to be compatible: realism; naturalist reductions in terms of an ideal response; and expressivism. In discussing the contrast with expressivism, I explain the sense in which, according to the constructivist, the distinction between substantive normative ethics and metaethics breaks down. I conclude by distinguishing between two importantly different debates about the mind-dependence of value. I argue that a failure to make this distinction is part of what explains why the possibility of constructivism as a metaethical view is often overlooked.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
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