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Ethical Rationalism: A theory of the foundations of ethics with implications for constitutional and legal practice.

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Abstract:

Ethical rationalism, championed by Immanuel Kant, Alan Gewirth, and others, derives ethical claims from practical reason, primarily from the principle of non-contradiction. I argue that the project is only complete once we recognize that choices are justified by norms which need to be justified in turn by higher-order norms. A regress threatens, which can only be closed off by a unique self-justifying norm, further implications of which lead to morality. This analysis has implications for our understanding of the function of constitutions and precedents in legal practice. For one role of these is to make explicit the higher-order norms by which our choices, and mid-level norms are justified. A choice or norm which may initially seem justifiable may turn out to be inconsistent if it is justified via a higher-order norm which cannot be consistently endorsed. In this way they can help make our lower-order norms, and practical actions (including government action, and private action conforming to law) more moral.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

law (62), principl (62), order (34), one (25), justifi (23), may (23), end (22), adopt (19), agent (18), moral (17), higher (17), legal (17), ethic (16), case (15), higher-ord (14), set (13), contradict (13), court (13), ration (13), endors (12), norm (12),
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Association:
Name: Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference
URL:
http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p363759_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Forschler, Scott. "Ethical Rationalism: A theory of the foundations of ethics with implications for constitutional and legal practice." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, Apr 02, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p363759_index.html>

APA Citation:

Forschler, S. , 2009-04-02 "Ethical Rationalism: A theory of the foundations of ethics with implications for constitutional and legal practice." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p363759_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Ethical rationalism, championed by Immanuel Kant, Alan Gewirth, and others, derives ethical claims from practical reason, primarily from the principle of non-contradiction. I argue that the project is only complete once we recognize that choices are justified by norms which need to be justified in turn by higher-order norms. A regress threatens, which can only be closed off by a unique self-justifying norm, further implications of which lead to morality. This analysis has implications for our understanding of the function of constitutions and precedents in legal practice. For one role of these is to make explicit the higher-order norms by which our choices, and mid-level norms are justified. A choice or norm which may initially seem justifiable may turn out to be inconsistent if it is justified via a higher-order norm which cannot be consistently endorsed. In this way they can help make our lower-order norms, and practical actions (including government action, and private action conforming to law) more moral.


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The Principal-Agent Theory and the Judicial System: Measuring U.S. Courts of Appeals Compliance to the Supreme Court's Establishment Clause Cases, 1969-1996


 
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