Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Constructivism is an important theory about the normative justification of principles of justice that has a comparatively short history. It has been developed explicitly only in the last decades of the twentieth century, primarily as a response to the perception that traditional foundational accounts of justification were being discredited only to be replaced with pluralist or relativist accounts that may endanger the very notion of objective justification. Although not necessarily agreeing that foundational justification is impossible, constructivists maintain that it is not at all necessary if what we are concerned with is the possibility of objectively justifying principles. Constructivism is an important new way of continuing this normative project. Rather than “discovering” foundational principles, constructivists argue that objectively justified principles can be thought of as “constructed” by humans in their exercise of practical reasoning without having to make any necessarily controversial or partial foundational assumptions. What is constructed is generally ...