Mary Coleman


In “Constitutivism without Normative Thresholds,” Kathryn Lindeman raises two objections to what she aptly calls Threshold Constitutivism. My aim in this short discussion is to respond to her first objection. Although I will argue that this objection fails, I will also argue that thinking through how to respond to it reminds us of something important, namely, that many of the Norm-Governed Kinds that are directly related to intentional action are social kinds, that is, kinds whose existence conditions we ourselves collectively write. Everyone, whether constitutivist or not, needs to think seriously about what those existence conditions should be. 


[1]  Journal of Ethics and Social Policy 12 (3): 231-258 (2017).

[2] Lindeman’s second objection depends on her view, which I do not share, that “Normative Constitutivism has ambitions to be an explanatory strategy for norms in general” (238, my emphasis).


Discussion Notes