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  1. The Expansion View of Thick Concepts.Brent G. Kyle - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper proposes a new Separabilist account of thick concepts, called the Expansion View (or EV). According to EV, thick concepts are expanded contents of thin terms. An expanded content is, roughly, the semantic content of a predicate along with modifiers. Although EV is a form of Separabilism, it is distinct from the only kind of Separabilism discussed in the literature, and it has many features that Inseparabilists want from an account of thick concepts. EV can also give non-cognitivists a (...)
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  2. The Normative and the Evaluative: The Buck-Passing Account of Value.Richard Rowland - 2019 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed on (...)
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  3. Normative Commitments in Metanormative Theory.Pekka Väyrynen - 2019 - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 193-213.
    First-order normative theories concerning what’s right and wrong, good and bad, etc. and metanormative theories concerning the nature of first-order normative thought and talk are widely regarded as independent theoretical enterprises. This paper argues that several debates in metanormative theory involve views that have first-order normative implications, even as the implications in question may not be immediately recognizable as normative. I first make my claim more precise by outlining a general recipe for generating this result. I then apply this recipe (...)
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  4. Constitutivism Without Normative Thresholds.Kathryn Lindeman - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (XII):231-258.
    Constitutivist accounts in metaethics explain the normative standards in a domain by appealing to the constitutive features of its members. The success of these accounts turns on whether they can explain the connection between normative standards and the nature of individuals they authoritatively govern. Many such explanations presuppose that any member of a norm-governed kind must minimally satisfy the norms governing its kind. I call this the Threshold Commitment, and argue that constitutivists should reject it. First, it requires constitutivists to (...)
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  5. Three Problems with Metaethical Minimalism.Raff Donelson - 2018 - Southwest Philosophy Review 34 (1):125-131.
    Metaethical minimalism. sometimes called quietism, is the view that first-order moral judgments can be true but nothing makes them true. This article raises three worries for that view. First, minimalists have no good reason to insist that moral judgments can be true. Second, minimalism, in abandoning the requirement that true judgments need to have truthmakers, leads to a problematic proliferation of truths. Third, most versions of minimalism entail a disjointed and therefore unacceptable theory of language and thought.
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  6. Doing Unto Others: A Phenomenological Search for the Ground of Ethics.Richard Oxenberg - manuscript
    Can we find a phenomenological basis for the ethical 'ought'? This essay addresses this question through a reflection on Husserl's fifth Meditation. In the fifth Meditation Husserl endeavors to show the manner in which I constitute the other through an associative pairing of the other with my own subjectivity. This essay argues that this same associative pairing forces me to acknowledge the other as a person of intrinsic worth insofar as I recognize myself as one. Having acknowledged the intrinsic worth (...)
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  7. Introduction.Daniel Star - forthcoming - In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  8. Constitutivism.Paul Katsafanas - forthcoming - In Iain Thomson & Kelly Becker (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945-2015. Cambridge University Press.
    A brief explanation and overview of constitutivism.
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  9. The Varieties of Normativity.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 567-581.
    This paper discusses varieties of normative phenomena, ranging from morality, to epistemic justification, to the rules of chess. It canvases a number of distinctions among these different normative phenomena. The most significant distinction is between formal and authoritative normativity. The prior is the normativity exhibited by any standard one can meet or fail to meet. The latter is the sort of normativity associated with phenomena like the "all-things-considered" ought. The paper ends with a brief discussion of reasons for skepticism about (...)
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  10. Aristotelian Virtue Ethics and the Normativity Challenge.Étienne Brown - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (1):131-150.
    Aristotelian virtue theorists are currently engaged in a discussion with philosophers who use psychological findings to question some of their main assumptions. In this article, I present and argue against one of these psychological challenges—Jesse Prinz’s Normativity Challenge—which rests on the claim that findings in cultural psychology contradict the Aristotelian thesis that the normativity of virtues derives from nature. First, I demonstrate that the Normativity Challenge is based on three problematic assumptions about contemporary Aristotelianism. Second, I argue that it presupposes (...)
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  11. Caring Beings and the Immanence of Value: An Inquiry Into the Foundations of Interpersonal Morality.Richard Oxenberg - manuscript
    By what authority does morality make its demands? In this essay I argue that we find that authority within ourselves, immanent to - not necessarily the character - but the very fact of our own self-concern.
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  12. Normative Conflicts and the Structure of Normativity.Andrew Reisner - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: Themes from the Work of John Broome. Oxford University Press.
    This paper considers the relation between the sources of normativity, reasons, and normative conflicts. It argues that common views about how normative reasons relate to their sources have important consequences for how we can understand putative normative conflicts.
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  13. The Varieties of Normativity: An Essay on Social Ontology.Leo Zaibert & Barry Smith - 2007 - In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Intentional Acts and Institutional Facts: Essays on John Searle’s Social Ontology. Springer. pp. 157-173.
    For much of the first fifty years of its existence, analytic philosophy shunned discussions of normativity and ethics. Ethical statements were considered as pseudo-propositions, or as expressions of pro- or con-attitudes of minor theoretical significance. Nowadays, in contrast, prominent analytic philosophers pay close attention to normative problems. Here we focus our attention on the work of Searle, at the same time drawing out an important connection between Searle’s work and that of two other seminal figures in this development: H.L.A. Hart (...)
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  14. Grounding and Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):155-178.
    This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’. The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non- normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non- normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion in (...)
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  15. Moral Realism and Arbitrariness.Jason Kawall - 2005 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):109-129.
    In this paper I argue (i) that choosing to abide by realist moral norms would be as arbitrary as choosing to abide by the mere preferences of a God (a difficulty akin to the Euthyphro dilemma raised for divine command theorists); in both cases we would lack reason to prefer these standards to alternative codes of conduct. I further develop this general line of thought by arguing in particular (ii) that we would lack any noncircular justification to concern ourselves with (...)
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  16. The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a book about normativity -- where the central normative terms are words like 'ought' and 'should' and their equivalents in other languages. It has three parts: The first part is about the semantics of normative discourse: what it means to talk about what ought to be the case. The second part is about the metaphysics of normative properties and relations: what is the nature of those properties and relations whose pattern of instantiation makes propositions about what ought to (...)
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Ought Implies Can
  1. Contrary-to-Duty Scenarios, Deontic Dilemmas, and Transmission Principles.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - Ethics 129 (1):98-115.
    Actualists hold that contrary-to-duty scenarios give rise to deontic dilemmas and provide counterexamples to the transmission principle, according to which we ought to take the necessary means to actions we ought to perform. In an earlier article, I have argued, contrary to actualism, that the notion of ‘ought’ that figures in conclusions of practical deliberation does not allow for deontic dilemmas and validates the transmission principle. Here I defend these claims, together with my possibilist account of contrary-to-duty scenarios, against Stephen (...)
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  2. If You Can't Change What You Believe, You Don't Believe It.Grace Helton - forthcoming - Noûs.
    I develop and defend the view that subjects are necessarily psychologically able to revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence. Specifically, subjects can revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence, given their current psychological mechanisms and skills. If a subject lacks this ability, then the mental state in question is not a belief, though it may be some other kind of cognitive attitude, such as a supposi-tion, an entertained thought, or a pretense. The result is a moderately revisionary (...)
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  3. Ought Implies Can,” Framing Effects, and “Empirical Refutations.Alicia Kissinger-Knox, Patrick Aragon & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):165-182.
    This paper aims to contribute to the current debate about the status of the “Ought Implies Can” principle and the growing body of empirical evidence that undermines it. We report the results of an experimental study which show that people judge that agents ought to perform an action even when they also judge that those agents cannot do it and that such “ought” judgments exhibit an actor-observer effect. Because of this actor-observer effect on “ought” judgments and the Duhem-Quine thesis, talk (...)
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  4. An Analysis of Recent Empirical Data on ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’.Yishai Cohen - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):57-67.
    Recent experimental studies dispute the position that commonsense morality accepts ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’, the view that, necessarily, if an agent ought to perform some action, then she can perform that action. This paper considers and supports explanations for the results of these studies on the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive and true.
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  5. ‘Ought Implies Can’: Not So Pragmatic After All.Alex King - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):637-661.
    Those who want to deny the ‘ought implies can’ principle often turn to weakened views to explain ‘ought implies can’ phenomena. The two most common versions of such views are that ‘ought’ presupposes ‘can’, and that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. This paper will reject both views, and in doing so, present a case against any pragmatic view of ‘ought implies can’. Unlike much of the literature, I won't rely on counterexamples, but instead will argue that each of these views fails (...)
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  6. Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  7. On the Theoretical Significance of G. A. Cohen’s Fact-Insensitivity Thesis.Kyle Johannsen - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (2):245-253.
    G. A. Cohen’s claim that fundamental principles are ‘fact-insensitive’ has not received an especially warm welcome from the philosophical community. While some philosophers have expressed doubts about the plausibility of his claim, others have complained that even if his thesis is true, it is also relatively insignificant. In my paper, I argue that the fact-insensitivity thesis, if true, provides considerable support for value pluralism, and is thus of interest for that reason. Though Cohen himself assumes a plurality of fundamental principles, (...)
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  8. "Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
    The familiar complaint that some ambitious proposal is infeasible naturally invites the following response: Once upon a time, the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women seemed infeasible, yet these things were actually achieved. Presumably, then, many of those things that seem infeasible in our own time may well be achieved too and, thus, turn out to have been perfectly feasible after all. The Appeal to History, as we call it, is a bad argument. It is not true that (...)
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  9. Does “Ought” Imply “Feasible”?Nicholas Southwood - 2016 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (1):7-45.
    Many of us feel internally conflicted in the face of certain normative claims that make infeasible demands: say, normative claims that demand that agents do what, given deeply entrenched objectionable character traits, they cannot bring themselves to do. On the one hand, such claims may seem false on account of demanding the infeasible, and insisting otherwise may seem to amount to objectionable unworldliness – to chasing “pies in the sky.” On the other hand, such claims may seem true in spite (...)
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  10. Reasons and Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (3):214-235.
    Many philosophers accept a response constraint on normative reasons: that p is a reason for you to φ only if you are able to φ for the reason that p. This constraint offers a natural way to cash out the familiar and intuitive thought that reasons must be able to guide us, and has been put to work as a premise in a range of influential arguments in ethics and epistemology. However, the constraint requires interpretation and faces putative counter-examples due (...)
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  11. Moral Failure — Response to Critics.Lisa Tessman - 2016 - Feminist Philosophical Quarterly 2 (1):1-18.
    I briefly introduce Moral Failure as a book that brings together philosophical and empirical work in moral psychology to examine moral requirements that are non-negotiable and that contravene the principle that “ought implies can.” I respond to Rivera by arguing that the process of construction that imbues normative requirements with authority need not systematize or eliminate conflicts between normative requirements. My response to Schwartzman clarifies what is problematic about nonideal theorizing that limits itself to offering action-guidance. In response to Kittay, (...)
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  12. Sound Advice and Internal Reasons.Ariela Tubert - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):181-199.
    Reasons internalism holds that reasons for action contain an essential connection with motivation. I defend an account of reasons internalism based on the advisor model. The advisor model provides an account of reasons for action in terms of the advice of a more rational version of the agent. Contrary to Pettit and Smith's proposal and responding to Sobel's and Johnson's objections, I argue that the advisor model can provide an account of internal reasons and that it is too caught up (...)
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  13. Review: M. V. Ackeren and M. Kühler (Eds.) The Limits of Moral Obligation: Moral Demandingness and Ought Implies Can (New York: Routledge, 2016), 210 Pages. ISBN: 9781138824232 (Hbk). Hardback: £90.00. [REVIEW]Alfred Archer - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
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  14. I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
    I defend the following version of the ought-implies-can principle: (OIC) by virtue of conceptual necessity, an agent at a given time has an (objective, pro tanto) obligation to do only what the agent at that time has the ability and opportunity to do. In short, obligations correspond to ability plus opportunity. My argument has three premises: (1) obligations correspond to reasons for action; (2) reasons for action correspond to potential actions; (3) potential actions correspond to ability plus opportunity. In the (...)
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  15. How Reasons Are Sensitive to Available Evidence.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 90-114.
    In this paper, I develop a theory of how claims about an agent’s normative reasons are sensitive to the epistemic circumstances of this agent, which preserves the plausible ideas that reasons are facts and that reasons can be discovered in deliberation and disclosed in advice. I argue that a plausible theory of this kind must take into account the difference between synchronic and diachronic reasons, i.e. reasons for acting immediately and reasons for acting at some later point in time. I (...)
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  16. Ought, Can, and Presupposition: A Reply to Kurthy and Lawford-Smith.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):250-256.
    I report the results of a follow-up study, designed to address concerns raised by Kurthy and Lawford-Smith in response to my original study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Like the results of the original study, the results of the follow-up study do not support the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive. The results of both studies suggest that OIC is probably not a principle of ordinary moral cognition. As I have argued in my paper, I take this (...)
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  17. Instrumental Normativity: In Defense of the Transmission Principle.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):921-946.
    If you ought to perform a certain act, and some other action is a necessary means for you to perform that act, then you ought to perform that other action as well – or so it seems plausible to say. This transmission principle is of both practical and theoretical significance. The aim of this paper is to defend this principle against a number of recent objections, which (as I show) are all based on core assumptions of the view called actualism. (...)
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  18. Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Control.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    I argue that when determining whether an agent ought to perform an act, we should not hold fixed the fact that she’s going to form certain attitudes (and, here, I’m concerned with only reasons-responsive attitudes such as beliefs, desires, and intentions). For, as I argue, agents have, in the relevant sense, just as much control over which attitudes they form as which acts they perform. This is important because what effect an act will have on the world depends not only (...)
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  19. Ought, Can, and Presupposition: An Experimental Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):232-243.
    In this paper, I present the results of an experimental study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Many philosophers accept as an axiom the principle known as “Ought Implies Can” (OIC). If the truth of OIC is intuitive, such that it is accepted by many philosophers as an axiom, then we would expect people to judge that agents who are unable to perform an action are not morally obligated to perform that action. The results of my experimental (...)
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  20. 'Ought', 'Can', and Fairness.Rob van Someren Greve - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):913-922.
    According to the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, it is never the case that you ought to do something you cannot do. While many accept this principle in some form, it also has its share of critics, and thus it seems desirable if an argument can be offered in its support. The aim of this paper is to examine a particular way in which the principle has been defended, namely, by appeal to considerations of fairness. In a nutshell, the idea (...)
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  21. Ought We to Forget What We Cannot Forget? A Reply to Sybille Schmidt.Attila Tanyi - 2015 - In Giovanni Galizia & David Shulman (eds.), Forgetting: An Interdisciplinary Conversation. Magnes Press of the Hebrew University. pp. 258-262.
    This is a short response to Sybille Schmidt's paper (in the same volume) "Is There an Ethics of Forgetting?". The response starts out by admitting that forgetting is an essential function of human existence, that it serves, as it were, an important evolutionary function: that it is good, since it contributes to our well-being, to have the ability to forget. But this does not give us as answer, affirmative or not, to Schmidt’s title question: “Is There an Ethics of Forgetting?” (...)
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  22. Unwitting Wrongdoers and the Role of Moral Disagreement in Blame.Matthew Talbert - 2013 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
    I argue against the claim that morally ignorant wrongdoers are open to blame only if they are culpable for their ignorance, and I argue against a version of skepticism about moral responsibility that depends on this claim being true. On the view I defend, the attitudes involved in blame are typically responses to the features of an action that make it objectionable or unjustifiable from the perspective of the one who issues the blame. One important way that an action can (...)
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  23. ‘Ought’ Does Not Imply ‘Can’.Moti Mizrahi - 2009 - Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):19-35.
    According to the Ought-Implies-Can principle (OIC), an agent ought to perform a certain action only if the agent can perform that action. Proponents of OIC interpret this supposed implication in several ways. Some argue that the implication in question is a logical one, namely, entailment. Some think that the relation between ‘ought’ and ‘can’ is a relation of presupposition. Still others argue that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. Opponents of OIC offer a variety of counterexamples in an attempt to show that (...)
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  24. “The Thing To Do” Implies “Can”.Nicholas Southwood - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):61-72.
    A familiar complaint against the principle that “ought” implies “can” is that it seems that agents can intentionally make it the case that they cannot perform acts that they nonetheless ought to perform. I propose a related principle that I call the principle that “the thing to do” implies “can.” I argue that the principle that “the thing to do” implies “can” is implied by important but underappreciated truths about practical reason, and that it is not vulnerable to the familiar (...)
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  25. Non-Ideal Accessibility.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):653-669.
    What should we do when we won't do as we ought? Suppose it ought to be that the procrastinating professor accept the task of reviewing a book, and actually review the book. It seems clear that given he won't review it, he ought not to accept the task. That is a genuine moral obligation in light of less than perfect circumstances. I want to entertain the possibility that a set of such obligations form something like a 'practical morality'; that which (...)
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  26. Is the Right Prior to the Good?Julian Fink - 2007 - South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):143-149.
    One popular line of argument put forward in support of the principle that the right is prior to the good is to show that teleological theories, which put the good prior to the right, lead to implausible normative results. There are situa- tions, it is argued, in which putting the good prior to the right entails that we ought to do things that cannot be right for us to do. Consequently, goodness cannot (always) explain an action's rightness. This indicates that (...)
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  27. Does ‘Ought’ Imply ‘Can’ From an Epistemic Point of View?Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):829-840.
    In this paper, I argue that the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle, as it is employed in epistemology, particularly in the literature on epistemic norms, is open to counterexamples. I present a counterexample to OIC and discuss several objections to it. If this counterexample works, then it shows that it is possible that S ought to believe that p, even though S cannot believe that p. If this is correct, then OIC, considered from an epistemic point of view, is false, (...)
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  28. Factualism, Normativism and the Bounds of Normativity.Thomas M. Besch - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (2):347-365.
    The paper argues that applications of the principle that “ought” implies “can” (OIC) depend on normative considerations even if the link between “ought” and “can” is logical in nature. Thus, we should reject a common, “factualist” conception of OIC and endorse weak “normativism”. Even if we use OIC as the rule ““cannot” therefore “not ought””, applying OIC is not a mere matter of facts and logic, as factualists claim, but often draws on “proto-ideals” of moral agency.
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  29. Hard Determinism, Humeanism, and Virtue Ethics.Benjamin Vilhauer - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):121-144.
    Hard determinists hold that we never have alternative possibilities of action—that we only can do what we actually do. This means that if hard determinists accept the “ought implies can” principle, they mustaccept that it is never the case that we ought to do anything we do not do. In other words, they must reject the view that there can be “ought”- based moral reasons to do things we do not do. Hard determinists who wish to accommodate moral reasons to (...)
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  30. An Essay in Deontic Logic and the General Theory of Action.G. H. von Wright (ed.) - 1968 - Amsterdam: North-Holland Pub. Co..
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  31. ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, and Practical Reasons.Clayton Littlejohn - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):363-73.
    Some recent defenses of the 'ought' implies 'can' (OIC) principle try to derive that principle from uncontroversial claims about reasons for action. Reasons for action, it's said, are reasons only for 'potential' actions, which are actions that an agent can perform. Given that 'ought' implies 'reasons', it seems we have our proof of OIC. In this paper, I argue that this latest strategy for defending OIC fails.
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  32. Internal Reasons and the Ought-Implies-Can Principle.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Philosophical Forum 39 (4):469-483.
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  33. Rational Capacity as a Condition on Blame.Pamela Hieronymi - 2007 - Philosophical Books 48 (2):109–123.
    In "Rational Capacities" Michael Smith outlines the sense of capacity he believes to be required before blame is appropriate. I question whether this sense of capacity is required. In so doing, I consider different ways in which blame might be conditioned.
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  34. Responsibility for Believing.Pamela Hieronymi - 2008 - Synthese 161 (3):357-373.
    Many assume that we can be responsible only what is voluntary. This leads to puzzlement about our responsibility for our beliefs, since beliefs seem not to be voluntary. I argue against the initial assumption, presenting an account of responsibility and of voluntariness according to which, not only is voluntariness not required for responsibility, but the feature which renders an attitude a fundamental object of responsibility (that the attitude embodies one’s take on the world and one’s place in it) also guarantees (...)
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