Miscellaneous Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. The final authenticated version is available online at: Paletta, D. Ethic Theory Moral Prac (2013) 16:9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-011-9328-1


In The Second Person Standpoint, Darwall charges that all value-oriented foundations for ethics make a category mistake. Calling it Strawson’s point, he argues these foundations explain moral authority, which concerns whether someone has standing to hold another accountable, in terms of a value, which essentially concerns what makes the world go best. However, whether it would be good for me to blame you simply asks a different question than whether I have standing to blame you. I defend a value-oriented foundation for contractualism by identifying one way to overcome Strawson’s point. At bottom, Darwall’s objection relies on the assumption that all values are world regarding. I argue that another class of values exists: second-personal values. Grounding morality in one of these values does not make the category mistake at the heart of Strawson’s point. In particular, I argue that grounding morality on one second personal value, the ideal of acting justifiably towards others, better captures traditional contractualist ideals than Darwall’s formal foundation.


Contractualism, Strawson's Point, Darwall



Date Posted: 30 September 2019

This document has been peer reviewed.