We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Transcendental arguments for a categorical imperative as arguments from agential self-understanding.

Beyleveld, Deryck (2017) 'Transcendental arguments for a categorical imperative as arguments from agential self-understanding.', in Transcendental arguments in moral theory. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, pp. 141-159.


This chapter construes Kant’s contention that a categorical imperative is a synthetic a priori principle as equivalent to Gewirth’s claim that such an imperative is a dialectically necessary principle (a strict requirement of agential self-understanding). It is not concerned to defend either Kant’s or Gewirth’s argument for a categorical imperative, but to elucidate the “dialectically necessary method” (which rests on the dialectical necessity of a principle making it categorically binding) and to defend this method against David Enoch’s critique of “constitutivism” (taken as trying to show that transcendental arguments for morality, construed as dialectically necessary ones, are futile, even if they can be successful, because normativity cannot be constituted in dialectical necessity). In the process, it relates the dialectically necessary method to internalism, naturalism, foundationalism, coherentism, and realism.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:The final publication is available at
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 August 2017
Date of first online publication:20 January 2017
Date first made open access:20 January 2018

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar