Reasons

Edited by Errol Lord (University of Pennsylvania)
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  1. The Fittingness of Emotions.Hichem Naar - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    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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  2. 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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  3. Imperative Inference and Practical Rationality.Daniel W. Harris - 2021 - Philosophical Studies.
    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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  4. 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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  5. All Reasons Are Fundamentally For Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Not Fittingness, Not Reasons, and Not Value: Against the 'First' Views.Andrew Reisner - manuscript
    [May 11 version] This is part of a book project, The Pragmatic Foundations 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 so by showing (...)
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  11. Desire and What It’s Rational to Do.Ashley Shaw - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    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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  12. 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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  13. Are Desires Beliefs About Normative Reasons?Avery Archer - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):236-251.
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  14. Possessing Reasons: Why the Awareness-First Approach is Better Than the Knowledge-First Approach.Paul Silva - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    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. But 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 (...)
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  15. Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan Weaver and Kevin Scharp. [REVIEW]Daniel Fogal & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - Ethics.
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Introduction.Daniel Star - 2018 - In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. Desires, Whims and Values.Donald C. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. On Reflection, by Hilary Kornblith. [REVIEW]Elijah Chudnoff - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1319-1322.
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  34. Can We Believe for Practical Reasons?Juan Comesaña - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):189-207.
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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. From Reasons to Norms: On the Basic Question in Ethics.Marko Jurjako - 2010 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):292-296.
    This is a review of Torbjorn Tannsjo's book: "From Reasons to Norms".
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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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. Way and Whiting on Elusive Reasons.Benjamin Cohen Rossi - forthcoming - Wiley: Analytic Philosophy.
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  2. A Reason to Know.Olof Leffler - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-19.
    It is often thought that desire-based versions of reasons internalism, according to which our practical reasons depend on what we desire, are committed to denying that we have any categorical reasons. I shall argue, however, that such theories are committed to a universal desire which gives rise to an unexpected categorical reason – a reason to know our surroundings. I will arrive at this conclusion by using Fichte’s argument for thinking that security from unpredictable and powerful forces of nature is (...)
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  3. Elusive Reasons and the Motivational Constraint.Benjamin Cohen Rossi - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (1).
    The motivational constraint on normative reasons says that a consideration is a normative reason for an agent to act only if it is logically possible for the agent to act for that reason, or at least to be moved so to act. The claim figures Zelig-like in philosophical debates about practical reasons: on hand, occasionally prominent, but never the focus of discussion. However, because it is entailed by a number of prominent views about normative reasons—including various forms of internalism and (...)
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  4. Responding to Normativity.Stephen Finlay - 2007 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 2. Clarendon Press. pp. 220-239.
    This paper defends the view that normative force depends on desire, by sketching an Argument from Voluntary Response which attempts to establish this dependence by appeal to the autonomous character of our experience of normative authority, and the voluntary character of our responses to it. I first offer an account of desiring as mentally aiming intrinsically at some end. I then argue that behaviour is only voluntary if it results from such aiming; hence all voluntary behaviour is produced by desire. (...)
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  5. What If Ideal Advice Conflicts?: A Dilemma for Idealizing Accounts of Normative Practical Reasons.Eric Sampson - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    One of the deepest and longest-lasting debates in ethics concerns a version of the Euthyphro question: are choiceworthy things choiceworthy because agents have certain attitudes toward them or are they choiceworthy independent of any agents’ attitudes? Reasons internalists, such as Bernard Williams, Michael Smith, Mark Schroeder, Sharon Street, Kate Manne, Julia Markovits, and David Sobel answer in the first way. They think that all of an agent’s normative reasons for action are grounded in facts about that agent’s pro-attitudes (e.g., her (...)
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  6. Do We Love For Reasons?Yongming Han - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):106-126.
    Do we love for reasons? It can seem as if we do, since most cases of non‐familial love seem *selective*: coming to love a non‐family‐member often begins with our being drawn to them for what they are like. I argue, however, that we can vindicate love's selectivity, even if we maintain that there are no reasons for love; indeed, that gives us a simpler, and hence better, explanation of love's selectivity. We don't, in short, come to love *for* reasons. That (...)
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  7. Ambidextrous Reasons (or Why Reasons First's Reasons Aren't Facts).Nathan Robert Howard - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    The wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem is a problem for attempts to analyze normative properties using only facts about the balance of normative reasons, a style of analysis on which the ‘Reasons First’ programme depends. I argue that this problem cannot be solved if the orthodox view of reasons is true --- that is, if each normative reason is numerically identical with some fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. That’s because solving the WKR problem requires completely distinguishing between the right- and (...)
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  8. Merleau-Ponty, Moral Perception, and Metaethical Internalism.Bryan Lueck - 2020 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 34 (3):265-273.
    Two of the most basic commitments of virtue ethics, both ancient and contemporary, are that virtue is knowledge and that this knowledge is a kind of moral sensitivity that is best understood on the model of perception. On this account, the virtuous agent perceives moral goodness and badness in something like the way we perceive that a smiling person is happy or that a raging bull is dangerous. This is opposed to the more widely held view of moral experience, according (...)
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