Reasons

Edited by Errol Lord (University of Pennsylvania)
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  1. Responding to Second-Order Reasons.Sophie Keeling - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    A rich literature has discussed what it is to respond to a reason, e.g., to believe or act on the basis of some consideration or another. In comparison, what it would be to respond to a second-order reason has been underexplored. Yet formulating an account of this is vital for maintaining the existence of second-order reasons in both the practical and epistemic domains. And indeed, there are reasons to doubt this is possible. For example, responding to second-order reasons is meant (...)
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  2. Future Selves, Paternalism and Our Rational Powers.Kyle van Oosterum - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper challenges the two aims of Michael Cholbi’s Rational Will View (RWV) which are to (1) offer an account of why paternalism is presumptively or pro tanto wrong and (2) relate the relative wrongness of paternalistic interventions to the rational powers that such interventions target (Sections 1 and 2). Some of a paternalizee’s choices harm their future selves in ways that would be wrong if they were done to others. I claim this challenges Cholbi’s second aim (2) because the (...)
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  3. Evidence, reasons, and knowledge in the reasons-first program.Paul Silva & Sven Bernecker - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 181 (2):617-625.
    Mark Schroeder’s Reasons First is admirable in its scope and execution, deftly demonstrating the theoretical promise of extending the reasons-first approach from ethics to epistemology. In what follows we explore how (not) to account for the evidence-that relation within the reasons-first program, we explain how factive content views of evidence can be resilient in the face of Schroeder’s criticisms, and we explain how knowledge from falsehood threatens Schroeder’s view of knowledge. Along the way we sketch a reliabilist account of the (...)
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  4. The Weight of Reasons: A Framework for Ethics.Chris Tucker - forthcoming - New York: Oxford University Press.
    The book develops, defends, and applies an account of weighing reasons to resolve various issues in ethics. It tells you everything you ever wanted to know about weighing reasons and probably a lot of stuff you didn't want to know too. The excerpt provided here is the Table of Contents, the Introduction, and Chapter 1.
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  5. From the Perspective of Prudence, Is It Just as Reasonable to Change Your Desires to Fit the World as It Is to Change the World to Fit Your Desires?Chris Heathwood - 2024 - Res Philosophica 101 (1):131-141.
    Dale Dorsey’s wide-ranging A Theory of Prudence contains ideas and arguments worthy of our attention on quite a variety of self-interest-related normative topics. In this essay I focus on Dorsey’s theory of prudential rationality, which is designed to deliver a negative answer to this essay’s titular question. Dorsey’s negative answer may be more intuitive, but I believe the positive answer is more defensible. From the perspective of prudence, it is just as reasonable to change your desires to fit the world (...)
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  6. Commonsense Morality and Contact with Value.Adam Lovett & Stefan Riedener - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 1:1-21.
    There seem to be many kinds of moral duties. We should keep our promises; we should pay our debts of gratitude; we should compensate those we’ve wronged; we should avoid doing or intending harm; we should help those in need. These constitute, some worry, an unconnected heap of duties: the realm of commonsense morality is a disorganized mess. In this paper, we outline a strategy for unifying commonsense moral duties. We argue that they can be understood in terms of contact (...)
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  7. Fit-Related Reasons to Inquire.Genae Matthews - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Recent philosophical work on inquiry yields important results about when it is appropriate to inquire and to what extent norms on inquiry are compatible with other epistemic norms. However, philosophers have been remarkably silent on the matter of what questions we ought to take up in the first place. In this paper, I take up this question, and argue that moral considerations constitute fit-related, right-kind reasons to adopt interrogative attitudes towards, and so inquire about, particular questions. This is a conclusion (...)
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  8. 'Belief' and Belief.Eric Marcus - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Our interest in understanding belief stems partly from our being creatures who think. However, the term ‘belief’ is used to refer to many states: from the fully conscious rational state that partly constitutes knowledge to the fanciful states of alarm clocks. Which of the many ‘belief’ states must a theory of belief be answerable to? This is the scope question. I begin my answer with a reply to a recent argument that belief is invariably weak, i.e., that the evidential standards (...)
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  9. The balance and weight of reasons.Nicholas Makins - 2023 - Theoria 89 (5):592-606.
    The aim of this paper is to provide a detailed characterisation of some ways in which our preferences reflect our reasons. I will argue that practical reasons can be characterised along two dimensions that influence our preferences: their balance and their weight. This is analogous to a similar characterisation of the way in which probabilities reflect the balance and weight of evidence in epistemology. In this paper, I will illustrate the distinction between the balance and weight of reasons, and show (...)
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  10. Factivism Defended: A Reply to Howard.J. J. Cunningham - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
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  11. Admiration, Appreciation, and Aesthetic Worth.Daniel Whiting - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):375-389.
    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 generalise 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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  12. What the Cluster View Can Do for You.Daniel Fogal & Alex Worsnip - 2024 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies of Metaethics 19. Oxford University Press USA.
    Despite myriad controversies about reasons, two theses are frequently taken for granted: (i) reasons are sources of normative support for actions, attitudes, etc; and (ii) reasons, at least in simple, paradigmatic cases, consist in atomic facts. Call this conjunction “the atomic view.” Against this, we advocate what we call “the cluster view,” on which even in the simplest cases, the normative support for an action or attitude is typically provided by a whole cluster of facts. Moreover, many of these facts (...)
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  13. Reasons for action: making a difference to the security of outcomes.Mattias Gunnemyr & Caroline Torpe Touborg - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):333-362.
    In this paper, we present a new account of teleological reasons, i.e. reasons to perform a particular action because of the outcomes it promotes. Our account gives the desired verdict in a number of difficult cases, including cases of overdetermination and non-threshold cases like Parfit’s famous _Drops of water._ The key to our account is to look more closely at the metaphysics of causation. According to Touborg (_The dual nature of causation_, 2018), it is a necessary condition for causation that (...)
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  14. 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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  15. Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit.R. A. Rowland - 2023 - In Chris Howard & R. A. Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. OUP.
    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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  16. Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - Mind 131 (524):1247-1278.
    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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. Value and Idiosyncratic Fitting Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2023 - In Chris Howard & R. A. Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. OUP.
    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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Do affective desires provide reasons for action?Ashley Shaw - 2020 - Ratio 34 (2):147-157.
    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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. The Explanatory Merits of Reasons-First Epistemology.Eva Schmidt - 2020 - In Christoph Demmerling & Dirk Schroder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion: New Essays. New York, NY: Routledge. 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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  27. Against the 'First' Views (formerly Not fittingness, not reasons, not value) [Chapter 5 of A New Theory of Pragmatic Reasons for Belief (Under Contract with OUP)].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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  28. Desire and What It’s Rational to Do.Ashley Shaw - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (4):761-775.
    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 their (...)
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  29. 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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  30. Are Desires Beliefs about Normative Reasons?Avery Archer - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):236-251.
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  31. Possessing reasons: why the awareness-first approach is better than the knowledge-first approach.Paul Silva - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2925-2947.
    [Significantly updated in Chapter 6 of Awareness and the Substructure of Knowledge] 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 (...)
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  32. Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan Weaver and Kevin Scharp. [REVIEW]Daniel Fogal & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - Ethics.
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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. Possessing epistemic reasons: the role of rational capacities.Eva Https://Orcidorg 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. Introduction.Daniel Star - 2018 - In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press.
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  42. Reasons Internalism.Errol Lord & David Plunkett - 2017 - In Tristram Colin McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 324-339.
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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. Desires, Whims and Values.Donald C. Hubin - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 7 (3):315-335.
    Neo-Humean instrumentalists hold that anagent's reasons for acting are grounded in theagent's desires. Numerous objections have beenleveled against this view, but the mostcompelling concerns the problem of ``aliendesires'' – desires with which the agent doesnot identify. The standard version ofneo-Humeanism holds that these desires, likeany others, generate reasons for acting. Avariant of neo-Humeanism that grounds anagent's reasons on her values, rather than allof her desires, avoids this implication, but atthe cost of denying that we have reasons to acton innocent whims. (...)
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  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. The Logic of Reasons.Shyam Nair & John Horty - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York, NY, United States of America: 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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