Early Forms of Metaethical Constructivism in John Dewey's Pragmatism

Pierre-Luc Dostie Proulx


This paper demonstrates the innovative character of the approach to metaethics underlying John Dewey’s pragmatism. Dewey's theory of evaluation is contrasted with one of the most dominant contemporary metaethical theses: constructivism. I show that the insistence placed by metaethical constructivists on the actor’s practical point of view, on the rejection of the subjective preferences model, and on a specific form of ethical antirealism and naturalism echoes some of the most crucial claims made by Dewey. This argumentation leads to my main hypothesis: an analysis of Dewey's conception of evaluation allows us to highlight the groundbreaking character of its metaethical approach—an approach that will be characterized as fairly constructivist.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15173/jhap.v4i9.2868

Pierre-Luc Dostie Proulx
Centre Europé, Université catholique de Louvain

Assistant at the "Institut Supérieur de Philosophie"