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How is The Practical Standpoint Possible: On Korsgaard's Jusitification of Personal Identity

  • Tzuli Chang
Wednesday 23 May 2018
Past events 2018
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

The Institute for Philosophy is pleased to announce a lecture by

Tzuli Chang, Department of Philosophy, Fudan University, China


In order to justify the existence of personal identity, Christine Korsgaard puts forward the thesis of the practical standpoint. It is composed mainly of three parts: (1) the dichotomy between theoretical and practical facts, (2) the activity of moral agency, and (3) self-constitution in the sense of practical identity. This essay examines the problems implicit in Korsgaard’s discourse while making necessary modifications to, or enrichments of, it. First, the dichotomy between theoretical and practical facts is replaced with that of IP (impression and perception) and SP (self-consciousness and practice) approaches. By elaborating upon the reflective self-confirmation inherent in our self-consciousness as the first element of SP justification, the justificatory power of the practical standpoint is established. Next, given that the reflective character of rationality and deliberation can be reduced into streams of consciousness and explicated by Prafit’s Reductionism, the creative dimension of moral agency, as the second constituent of SP justification, is introduced to solidify the activity of moral agency. Lastly, the particularity and contingency of practical identity renders Korsgaard’s characterization of self-constitution self-defeating. Therefore, necessary redefinitions of moral identity and practical identity are suggested in this essay, both with the intention of solving the contradiction between practical identity and self-legislation as well as of cohering with Korsgaard’s commitment to self-constitution.


Tzuli Chang received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in July 2008 at the National Cheng-Chi University of Taiwan. He conducted postdoctoral research at National Cheng-Chi University for one year (2009-2010) and then worked as Visiting Assistant Professor at Tunghai University in Taiwan from 2010-2011, a Research Fellow at the Simian Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at East China Normal University (2012-2015), and as Visiting Professor at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2017). He joined the School of Philosophy at Fudan University as a Research Fellow in 2015. His teaching and research interests include Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism, Contemporary Neo-Confucianism, ethics, and political philosophy. He particularly focuses on the reinterpretation of Confucianism in the contemporary context, which draws on comparative studies of Confucianism, Kantian ethics, and political liberalism.

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