Reasons

Edited by Errol Lord (University of Pennsylvania)
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  1. Consideratism and the Credence of Conflicting Concepts (2022).David Klier -
    Skepticism has had a problem for a long time: it seems self-defeating. If I can’t trust something, can I trust that I can’t trust it? Pyrrho thought that “No one knows anything - and even that’s not certain.” [1] Or at least, that was Pyrrho’s answer to the “self-defeat objection.” Whether this is convincing or not, it has been known that throughout philosophical history, having a skeptical bone in your body is a good thing. From Socrates saying “the only thing (...)
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  2. Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit.R. A. Rowland - forthcoming - In Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    It is tempting to think that all of normativity, such as our reasons for action, what we ought to do, and the attitudes that it is fitting for us to have, derives from what is valuable. But value-first approaches to normativity have fallen out of favour as the virtues of reasons- and fittingness-first approaches to normativity have become clear. On these views, value is not explanatorily prior to reasons and fit; rather the value of things is understood in terms of (...)
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  3. Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Mind.
    In this paper, I identify a central problem for conceptual engineering: the problem of showing concept-users why they should recognise the authority of the concepts advocated by engineers. I argue that this authority problem cannot generally be solved by appealing to the increased precision, consistency, or other theoretical virtues of engineered concepts. Outside contexts in which we anyway already aim to realise theoretical virtues, solving the authority problem requires engineering to take a functional turn and attend to the functions of (...)
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  4. Fittingness First?: Reasons to Withhold Belief.Wooram Lee - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Recent years have seen the rise of fittingness-first views, which take fittingness to be the most basic normative feature, in terms of which other normative features can be explained. This paper poses a serious difficulty for the fittingness-first approach by showing that existing fittingness-first accounts cannot plausibly accommodate an important class of reasons: reasons not to believe a proposition. There are two kinds of reasons not to believe a proposition: considerations that are counterevidence; and considerations that count against believing the (...)
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  5. A Coherent and Comprehensible Interpretation of Saul Smilansky’s Dualism.Sofia M. I. Jeppsson - 2015 - Filosofiska Notiser 2 (1):39-45.
    Saul Smilansky’s theory of free will and moral responsibility consists of two parts; dualism and illusionism. Dualism is the thesis that both compatibilism and hard determinism are partly true, and has puzzled many philosophers. I argue that Smilansky’s dualism can be given an unquestionably coherent and comprehensible interpretation if we reformulate it in terms of pro tanto reasons. Dualism so understood is the thesis that respect for persons gives us pro tanto reasons to blame wrongdoers, and also pro tanto reasons (...)
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  6. Practical reasons, theoretical reasons, and permissive and prohibitive balancing.John Brunero - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    Philosophers have often noted a contrast between practical and theoretical reasons when it comes to cases involving equally balanced reasons. When there are strong practical reasons for A-ing, and equally strong practical reasons for some incompatible option, B-ing, the agent is permitted to make an arbitrary choice between them, having sufficient reason to A and sufficient reason to B. But when there is strong evidence for P and equally strong evidence for ~ P, one isn’t permitted to simply believe one (...)
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  7. All Reasons Are Fundamentally for Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
    As rational agents, we are governed by reasons. The fact that there’s beer at the pub might be a reason to go there and a reason to believe you’ll enjoy it. As this example illustrates, there are reasons for both action and for belief. There are also many other responses for which there seem to be reasons – for example, desire, regret, admiration, and blame. This diversity raises questions about how reasons for different responses relate to each other. Might certain (...)
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  8. Value and Idiosyncratic Fitting Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - forthcoming - In Christopher Howard & Richard Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    Norm-attitude accounts of value say that for something to be valuable is for there to be norms that support valuing that thing. For example, according to fitting-attitude accounts, something is of value if it is fitting to value, and according to buck-passing accounts, something is of value if the reasons support valuing it. Norm-attitude accounts face the partiality problem: in cases of partiality, what it is fitting to value, and what the reasons support valuing, may not line up with what’s (...)
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  9. The Fittingness of Emotions.Hichem Naar - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13601-13619.
    We often assess emotions as appropriate or inappropriate depending on certain evaluative aspects of the world. Often using the term ‘fittingness’ as equivalent to ‘appropriateness’, many philosophers of emotion take fittingness assessments of emotions to be a broadly representational matter. On this sort of view, an emotion is fitting or appropriate just in case there is a kind of representational match between the emotion and the object, a matching analogous to truth for belief. This view provides an account of the (...)
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  10. Admiration, Appreciation, and Aesthetic Worth.Daniel Whiting - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    What is aesthetic appreciation? In this paper, I approach this question in an indirection fashion. First, I introduce the Kantian notion of moral worthy action and an influential analysis of it. Next, I generalize that analysis from the moral to the aesthetic domain, and from actions to affects. Aesthetic appreciation, I suggest, consists in an aesthetically worthy affective response. After unpacking the proposal, I show that it has non-trivial implications while cohering with a number of existing insights concerning the nature (...)
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  11. Imperative Inference and Practical Rationality.Daniel W. Harris - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (4):1065-1090.
    Some arguments include imperative clauses. For example: ‘Buy me a drink; you can’t buy me that drink unless you go to the bar; so, go to the bar!’ How should we build a logic that predicts which of these arguments are good? Because imperatives aren’t truth apt and so don’t stand in relations of truth preservation, this technical question gives rise to a foundational one: What would be the subject matter of this logic? I argue that declaratives are used to (...)
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  12. Do Affective Desires Provide Reasons for Action?Ashley Shaw - 2021 - Ratio 34 (2):1-11.
    This paper evaluates the claim that some desires provide reasons in virtue of their connection with conscious affective experiences like feelings of attraction or aversion. I clarify the nature of affective desires and several distinct ways in which affective desires might provide reasons. Against accounts proposed by Ruth Chang, Declan Smithies and Jeremy Weiss, I motivate doubts that it is the phenomenology of affective experiences that explains their normative or rational significance. I outline an alternative approach that centralises the function (...)
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  13. Circumstance, Answerability, and Luck.Lubomira V. Radoilska - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):155-167.
    This paper identifies a distinctive kind of moral luck, deep circumstantial luck and then explores its effects on moral responsibility. A key feature of the phenomenon is that it is recurrent rather than one-off. It also affects agents across a wide range of situations making it difficult to detect. Deeply unlucky agents are subject to unfavourable moral assessments through no fault of their own both in specific cases and when they try to respond to such initial assessments. In this respect, (...)
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  14. Must Reasons Be Either Theoretical or Practical? Aesthetic Criticism and Appreciative Reasons.Keren Gorodeisky - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    A long debate in aesthetics concerns the reasoned nature of criticism. The main questions in the debate are whether criticism is based on (normative) reasons, whether critics communicate reasons for their audience’s responses, and if so, how to understand these critical reasons. I argue that a great obstacle to making any progress in this debate is the deeply engrained assumption, shared by all sides of the debate, that reasons can only be either theoretical reasons (i.e., those that explain what to (...)
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  15. In defense of exclusionary reasons.N. P. Adams - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):235-253.
    Exclusionary defeat is Joseph Raz’s proposal for understanding the more complex, layered structure of practical reasoning. Exclusionary reasons are widely appealed to in legal theory and consistently arise in many other areas of philosophy. They have also been subject to a variety of challenges. I propose a new account of exclusionary reasons based on their justificatory role, rejecting Raz’s motivational account and especially contrasting exclusion with undercutting defeat. I explain the appeal and coherence of exclusionary reasons by appeal to commonsense (...)
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  16. The Explanatory Merits of Reasons-First Epistemology.Eva Schmidt - 2020 - In Christoph Demmerling & Dirk Schröder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion: New Essays. New York: pp. 75-91.
    I present an explanatory argument for the reasons-first view: It is superior to knowledge-first views in particular in that it can both explain the specific epistemic role of perception and account for the shape and extent of epistemic justification.
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  17. Against the 'First' Views (Formerly Not Fittingness, Not Reasons, Not Value) [Chapter 5 of The True and the Good: A New Theory of Theoretical Reason].Andrew Reisner - manuscript
    This is chapter 5 of the book project _The true and the good: a new theory of theoretical reason_, in which I explore the claim that both alethic and pragmatic reasons for belief are basic, but that they share a pragmatic foundation in a pluralist theory of wellbeing in which being in a positive epistemic state is a non-derivative component of wellbeing. This chapter argues that all three of fittingness first, reasons first, and value first views are false. It does (...)
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  18. Desire and What It’s Rational to Do.Ashley Shaw - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (4):761-775.
    ABSTRACT It is often taken for granted that our desires can contribute to what it is rational for us to do. This paper examines an account of desire—the ‘guise of the good’— that promises an explanation of this datum. I argue that extant guise-of-the-good accounts fail to provide an adequate explanation of how a class of desires—basic desires—contributes to practical rationality. I develop an alternative guise-of-the-good account on which basic desires attune us to our reasons for action in virtue of (...)
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  19. Mark C. Murphy, God’s Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency and the Argument From Evil. [REVIEW]Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):587-590.
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  20. Are Desires Beliefs About Normative Reasons?Avery Archer - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):236-251.
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  21. Possessing Reasons: Why the Awareness-First Approach is Better Than the Knowledge-First Approach.Paul Silva - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2925-2947.
    In order for a reason to justify an action or attitude it must be one that is possessed by an agent. Knowledge-centric views of possession ground our possession of reasons, at least partially, either in our knowledge of them or in our being in a position to know them. On virtually all accounts, knowing P is some kind of non-accidental true belief that P. This entails that knowing P is a kind of non-accidental true representation that P. I outline a (...)
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  22. Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan Weaver and Kevin Scharp. [REVIEW]Daniel Fogal & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - Ethics.
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  23. Egoism and humanism.Andrej Poleev - 2020 - Enzymes 18.
    В противостоянии эгоизма и гуманизма лишь „возделывание души“ может предотвратить всеобщее падение в пропасть безумия и мракобесия.
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  24. Moore, Brentano, and Scanlon: A Defense of Indefinability.Miles Tucker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2261-2276.
    Mooreans claim that intrinsic goodness is a conceptual primitive. Fitting-attitude theorists object: they say that goodness should be defined in terms of what it is fitting for us to value. The Moorean view is often considered a relic; the fitting-attitude view is increasingly popular. I think this unfortunate. Though the fitting-attitude analysis is powerful, the Moorean view is still attractive. I dedicate myself to the influential arguments marshaled against Moore’s program, including those advanced by Scanlon, Stratton-Lake and Hooker, and Jacobson; (...)
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  25. Vertical Precedents in Formal Models of Precedential Constraint.Gabriel L. Broughton - 2019 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 27 (3):253-307.
    The standard model of precedential constraint holds that a court is equally free to modify a precedent of its own and a precedent of a superior court—overruling aside, it does not differentiate horizontal and vertical precedents. This paper shows that no model can capture the U.S. doctrine of precedent without making that distinction. A precise model is then developed that does just that. This requires situating precedent cases in a formal representation of a hierarchical legal structure, and adjusting the constraint (...)
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  26. 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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  27. Possessing Epistemic Reasons: The Role of Rational Capacities.Eva Schmidt - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):483-501.
    In this paper, I defend a reasons-first view of epistemic justification, according to which the justification of our beliefs arises entirely in virtue of the epistemic reasons we possess. I remove three obstacles for this view, which result from its presupposition that epistemic reasons have to be possessed by the subject: the problem that reasons-first accounts of justification are necessarily circular; the problem that they cannot give special epistemic significance to perceptual experience; the problem that they have to say that (...)
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  28. Ethics and Practical Reason. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 7:119-120.
    In this review of essays on the topic of practical reason, the neo-Humeanism of philosophers such as James Drier, according to whom reasons are instrumental, is shown to be susceptible to the objections of Kantian philosophers such as Christine Korsgaard: the fact that you desire to X can never entail that you ought to X. Kantianism, however, comes under attack from neo-Aristotelian philosophers such as Berys Gaut, who argues that it is a mistake to identify goodness with being the object (...)
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  29. Can Reason Establish the Goals of Action? Assessing Interpretations of Aristotle’s Theory of Agency.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2017 - Discusiones Filosóficas 18 (30):35-62.
    Scholarship on Aristotle’s theory of action has recently veered toward an intellectualist position, according to which reason is in charge of setting the goals of action. This position has recently been criticized by an anti-intellectualism revival, according to which character, and not reason, sets the goals of action. I argue that neither view can sufficiently account for the complexities of Aristotle’s theory, and suggest a middle way that combines the strengths of both while avoiding their pitfalls. The key problem for (...)
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  30. Reasoning with Reasons.Daniel Star - forthcoming - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 241-59.
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  31. Introduction.Daniel Star - 2018 - In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  32. Reasons or Fittingness First?Richard Rowland - 2017 - Ethics 128 (1):212-229.
    Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way argue that we should put fittingness rather than reasons first because we can provide an account of the evaluative in terms of the normative only if we put fittingness rather than reasons first. I argue that it is no more difficult to provide an account of the evaluative in terms of the normative if we put reasons rather than fittingness first.
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  33. The Epistemology of Emotional Experience.Jonathan Mitchell - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (1):57-84.
    This article responds to two arguments against ‘Epistemic Perceptualism’, the view that emotional experiences, as involving a perception of value, can constitute reasons for evaluative belief. It first provides a basic account of emotional experience, and then introduces concepts relevant to the epistemology of emotional experience, such as the nature of a reason for belief, non-inferentiality, and prima facie vs. conclusive reasons, which allow for the clarification of Epistemic Perceptualism in terms of the Perceptual Justificatory View. It then challenges two (...)
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  34. Desires, Whims and Values.Donald Hubin - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 7 (3):315-335.
    Neo-Humean instrumentalists hold that an agent's reasons for acting are grounded in the agent's desires. Numerous objections have been leveled against this view, but the most compelling concerns the problem of "alien desires" - desires with which the agent does not identify. The standard version of neo-Humeanism holds that these desires, like any others, generate reasons for acting. A variant of neo-Humeanism that grounds an agent's reasons on her values, rather than all of her desires, avoids this implication, but at (...)
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  35. Two Conceptions of Reasons for Action.Ruth Chang - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (2):447-453.
    On a ‘comparative’ conception of practical reasons, reasons are like ‘weights’ that can make an action more or less rational. Bernard Gert adopts instead a ‘toggle’ conception of practical reasons: something counts as a reason just in case it alone can make some or other otherwise irrational action rational. I suggest that Gert’s conception suffers from various defects, and that his motivation for adopting this conception – his central claim that actions can be rational without there being reasons for them (...)
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  36. Lessons From Akrasia in Substance Misuse: A Clinicophilosophical Discussion.L. Radoilska & K. D. Fletcher - 2016 - BJ Psych Advances 22 (4):234-241.
    This article explores the philosophical concept of akrasia, also known as weakness of will, and demonstrates its relevance to clinical practice. In particular, it challenges an implicit notion of control over one’s actions that might impede recovery from substance misuse. Reflecting on three fictional case vignettes, we show how philosophical work on akrasia helps avoid this potentially harmful notion of control by supporting a holistic engagement with people for whom substance misuse is a problem. We argue that such engagement enhances (...)
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  37. The Value-Based Theory of Reasons.Barry Maguire - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    This paper develops the Value-Based Theory of Reasons in some detail. The central part of the paper introduces a number of theoretically puzzling features of normative reasons. These include weight, transmission, overlap, and the promiscuity of reasons. It is argued that the Value-Based Theory of Reasons elegantly accounts for these features. This paper is programmatic. Its goal is to put the promising but surprisingly overlooked Value-Based Theory of Reasons on the table in discussions of normative reasons, and to draw attention (...)
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  38. Conflicting Reasons, Unconflicting ‘Ought's.Shyam Nair - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):629-663.
    One of the popular albeit controversial ideas in the last century of moral philosophy is that what we ought to do is explained by our reasons. And one of the central features of reasons that accounts for their popularity among normative theorists is that they can conflict. But I argue that the fact that reasons conflict actually also poses two closely related problems for this popular idea in moral philosophy. The first problem is a generalization of a problem in deontic (...)
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  39. The Logic of Reasons.Shyam Nair & John Horty - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press. pp. 67-84.
    In this chapter, we begin by sketching in the broadest possible strokes the ideas behind two formal systems that have been introduced with to goal of explicating the ways in which reasons interact to support the actions and conclusions they do. The first of these is the theory of defeasible reasoning developed in the seminal work of Pollock; the second is a more recent theory due to Horty, which adapts and develops the default logic introduced by Reiter to provide an (...)
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  40. How Do Reasons Accrue?Shyam Nair - 2016 - In Errol Lord & Barry Maguire (eds.), Weighing Reasons. Oxford University Press. pp. 56–73.
    Reasons can interact in a variety of ways to determine what we ought to do or believe. And there can be cases where two reasons to do an act or have a belief are individually worse than a reason to not do that act or have that belief, but the reasons together are better than the reason to not do that act or have that belief. So the reasons together―which we can call the accrual of those reasons—can have a strength (...)
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  41. On Reflection, by Hilary Kornblith. [REVIEW]Elijah Chudnoff - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1319-1322.
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  42. Can We Believe for Practical Reasons?Juan Comesaña - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):189-207.
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  43. The Place of Reasons in Epistemology.Kurt Sylvan & Ernest Sosa - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
    This paper considers the place of reasons in the metaphysics of epistemic normativity and defends a middle ground between two popular extremes in the literature. Against members of the ‘reasons first’ movement, we argue that reasons are not the sole fundamental constituents of epistemic normativity. We suggest instead that the virtue-theoretic property of competence is the key building block. To support this approach, we note that reasons must be possessed to play a role in the analysis of central epistemically normative (...)
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  44. Can Desires Provide Reasons for Action.Ruth Chang - 2004 - In R. Jay Wallace, Philip Pettit, Samuel Scheffler & Michael Smith (eds.), Reason and Value: Themes From the Moral Philosophy of Joseph Raz. Oxford University Press. pp. 56--90.
    What sorts of consideration can be normative reasons for action? If we systematize the wide variety of considerations that can be cited as normative reasons, do we find that there is a single kind of consideration that can always be a reason? Desire-based theorists think that the fact that you want something or would want it under certain evaluatively neutral conditions can always be your normative reason for action. Value-based theorists, by contrast, think that what plays that role are evaluative (...)
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  45. Objective Reasons.Michael Pendlebury - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):533-563.
    In order to establish that judgments about practical reasons can be objective, it is necessary to show that the applicable standards provide an adequate account of truth and error. This in turn requires that these standards yield an extensive set of substantive, publicly accessible judgments that are presumptively true. This output requirement is not satisfied by the standards of universalizability, consistency, coherence, and caution alone. But it is satisfied if we supplement them with the principle that desire is a source (...)
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  46. Converging on Values.Donald C. Hubin - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):355–361.
    In 'The Moral Problem', Michael Smith defends a conception of normative reasons that is nonrelative. Given his understanding of normative reasons, nonrelativity commits him to the convergence hypothesis: that, as a result of the process or correction of beliefs and rational deliberation, 'all' agents would converge on having the same set of desires. I develop several reasons for being pessimistic about the truth of this hypothesis. As a result, if normative reasons exist, we have a reason to be skeptical of (...)
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  47. Analytical Dispositionalism and Practical Reason.Hallvard Lillehammer - 1999 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2 (2):117-133.
    The paper examines the plausibility of analytical dispositionalism about practical reason, according to which the following claims are conceptual truths about common sense ethical discourse: i) Ethics: agents have reasons to act in some ways rather than others, and ii) Metaphysical Modesty: there is no such thing as a response independent normative reality. By elucidating two uncontroversial assumptions which are fundamental to the common sense commitment to ethics, I argue that common sense ethical discourse is most plausibly construed as committed (...)
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  48. Moral Realism, Normative Reasons, and Rational Intelligibility.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (1):47-69.
    This paper concerns a prima facie tension between the claims that agents have normative reasons obtaining in virtue of the nature of the options that confront them, and there is a non-trivial connection between the grounds of normative reasons and the upshots of sound practical reasoning. Joint commitment to these claims is shown to give rise to a dilemma. I argue that the dilemma is avoidable on a response dependent account of normative reasons accommodating both and by yielding as a (...)
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  49. Revisionary Dispositionalism and Practical Reason.H. Lillehammer - 2000 - The Journal of Ethics 4 (3):173-190.
    This paper examines the metaphysically modest view that attributionsof normative reasons can be made true in the absence of a responseindependent normative reality. The paper despairs in finding asatisfactory account of normative reasons in metaphysically modestterms.
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Internalism and Externalism about Reasons
  1. Reasons as Reasons for Preferences.R. A. Rowland - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (3):297-311.
    I argue that all reasons for actions and attitudes consist in reasons for preferences; call this view RP. According to RP, reasons for A to believe that p just consist in reasons for A to prefer their believing that p to their not believing that p, and reasons for A to have a pro-attitude or perform an action just consist in reasons for A to prefer that she has that attitude/performs that action. I argue that we have strong reason to (...)
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