Philosophical Papers

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Existentialist Voluntarism as a Source of Normativity

A J Cohen


I defend a neo-Kantian view wherein we are capable of being completely
autonomous and impartial and argue that this ability can ground normativity. As this view
includes an existentialist conception of the self, I defend radical choice, a primary
component of that conception, against arguments many take to be definitive. I call the
ability to use radical choice ‘existentialist voluntarism' and bring it into a current debate in
normative philosophy, arguing that it allows that we can be distanced from all ends at once
so as to be completely impartial. Finally, I indicate how this can be the source of
normativity as it provides a purely impartial reason for being rational.

Philosophical Papers Vol. 37 (1) 2008: pp. 89-129
AJOL African Journals Online