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  1. Reasons and Promotion.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):98-122.
    A number of philosophers accept promotionalism, the view that whether there is a normative reason for an agent to perform an action or have an attitude depends on whether her doing so promotes a value, desire, interest, goal, or end. I show that promotionalism faces a prima facie problem when it comes to reasons for belief: it looks extensionally inadequate. I then articulate two general strategies promotionalists can used to solve this problem and argue that, even if one of these (...)
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  • Problems for Pure Probabilism About Promotion (and a Disjunctive Alternative).Nathaniel Sharadin - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1371-1386.
    Humean promotionalists about reasons think that whether there is a reason for an agent to ϕ depends on whether her ϕ-ing promotes the satisfaction of at least one of her desires. Several authors have recently defended probabilistic accounts of promotion, according to which an agent’s ϕ-ing promotes the satisfaction of one of her desires just in case her ϕ-ing makes the satisfaction of that desire more probable relative to some baseline. In this paper I do three things. First, I formalize (...)
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  • Promotion as Contrastive Increase in Expected Fit.Nathaniel Sharadin & Finnur Dellsén - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1263-1290.
    What is required for an action to promote the satisfaction of a desire? We reject extant answers and propose an alternative. Our account differs from competing answers in two ways: first, it is contrastive, in that actions promote the satisfaction of desires only as contrasted with other possible actions. Second, it employs a notion of expected fit between desire and world, defined as the weighted sum of the fit between the desire and the world in all possible outcomes, where each (...)
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  • Checking the Neighborhood: A Reply to DiPaolo & Behrends on Promotion.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (1):1-8.
    In previous work I argued that purely probabilistic accounts of what it takes to promote a desire are mistaken. This is because, I argued, there are desires that it is possible to promote but impossible to probabilistically promote. In a recent article critical of my account, Joshua DiPaolo and Jeffrey Behrends articulate a methodological principle -- Check the Neighborhood -- and claim that respecting this principle rescues pure probabilism from my argument. In this reply, I accept the methodological principle and (...)
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  • Towards a Semantics for Metanormative Constructivism.Jeremy M. Schwartz & Joel D. Velasco - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3061-3076.
    The status of constructivism as a metaethical or metanormative theory is unclear partly due to the lack of a clear semantics for central normative terms such as ‘reason’ and ‘ought’. In a series of recent papers, Sharon Street has attempted to clarify the central commitments of constructivism by focusing on the idea of a practical point of view and what follows from it. We improve upon the informal understanding provided by Street and attempt to provide a semantics for ‘ought’. Our (...)
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  • Reasons as the Unity Among the Varieties of Goodness.Richard Rowland - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):200-227.
    Our concepts of good simpliciter, good for, and good as a particular kind of thing must share some common element. I argue that all three types of goodness can be analysed in terms of the reasons that there are for a certain sets of agents to have pro-attitudes. To this end I provide new and compelling accounts of good for and goodness of a kind in terms of reasons for pro-attitudes that are more explanatorily illuminating than competing accounts and that (...)
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  • 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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  • Escalando la Montaña: Derek Parfit.Carlos Peña - 2012 - Revista de filosofía (Chile) 68:189-199.
    This article describes the importance of Parfit ́s point of view in the public debate. The central thesis of Parfit is that three of the most outstanding points of view in moral philosophy -Kantianism, Consequencialism and, Contractualism-- converge in a form of rule ́s consequentialism under Kant ́s inspiration. In support of these thesis, Parfit endorses moral realism and a externalist conception of reasons. He refuses, in this way, the underlying ideas of rational election theory. .
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  • The “Just Too Different” Objection to Normative Naturalism.Hille Paakkunainen - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (2):e12473.
    Consider normative properties and facts, such as facts consisting in something's being what you ought to do, or the property of being morally wrong. Normative naturalism is the view that normative properties and facts such as these exist, and that they are natural properties and facts. Some suspect, however, that normativity is incompatible with a wholly naturalistic worldview: that the normative couldn't be natural because it's somehow “just too different” from the natural. I critically examine recent forms of this “just (...)
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  • Normative Metaphysics for Accountants.Barry Maguire & Justin Snedegar - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):363-384.
    We use normative reasons in a bewildering variety of different ways. And yet, as many recent theorists have shown, one can discern systematic distinctions underlying this complexity. This paper is a contribution to this project of constructive normative metaphysics. We aim to bring a black sheep back into the flock: the balancing model of weighing reasons. This model is threatened by a variety of cases in which distinct reasons overlap, in the sense that they do not contribute separate weight for (...)
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  • External Reasons.Dean Lubin - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (2):273-291.
    Abstract: In this article I consider Bernard Williams's argument against the possibility of external reasons for action and his claim that the only reasons for action are therefore internal. Williams's argument appeals to David Hume's claim that reason is the slave of the passions, and to the idea that reasons are capable of motivating the agent who has them. I consider two responses to Williams's argument, by John McDowell and by Stephen Finlay. McDowell claims that even if Hume is right, (...)
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  • Simple Probabilistic Promotion.Eden Lin - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (2):360-379.
    Many believe that normative reasons for action are necessarily connected with the promotion of certain states of affairs: on Humean views, for example, there is a reason for you to do something if and only if it would promote the object of one of your desires. But although promotion is widely invoked in discussions of reasons, its nature is a matter of controversy. I propose a simple account: to promote a state of affairs is to make it more likely to (...)
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  • Sentimentalism About Moral Understanding.Nathan Robert Howard - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1065-1078.
    Some have attempted to explain why it appears that action based on deferential moral belief lacks moral worth by appealing to claims about an attitude that is difficult to acquire through testimony, which theorists have called “moral understanding”. I argue that this state is at least partly non-cognitive. I begin by employing case-driven judgments to undermine the assumption that I argue is responsible for the strangeness of deferential moral belief: the assumption that if an agent knows that some fact gives (...)
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  • Empathy, Shared Intentionality, and Motivation by Moral Reasons.Marion Hourdequin - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):403 - 419.
    Internalists about reasons generally insist that if a putative reason, R, is to count as a genuine normative reason for a particular agent to do something, then R must make a rational connection to some desire or interest of the agent in question. If internalism is true, but moral reasons purport to apply to agents independently of the particular desires, interests, and commitments they have, then we may be forced to conclude that moral reasons are incoherent. Richard Joyce (2001) develops (...)
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  • Normative Reasons Contextualism.Tim Henning - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (3):593-624.
    This article argues for the view that statements about normative reasons are context-sensitive. Specifically, they are sensitive to a contextual parameter specifying a relevant person's or group's body of information. The argument for normative reasons contextualism starts from the context-sensitivity of the normative “ought” and the further premise that reasons must be aligned with oughts. It is incoherent, I maintain, to suppose that someone normatively ought to φ but has most reason not to φ. So given that oughts depend on (...)
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  • Normative Reasoning and Moral Argumentation in Theory and Practice.Ryan Gillespie - 2016 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 49 (1):49-73.
    “Morality is relative to culture” is a descriptive claim; many people in many different cultures have different moral beliefs. When one adopts moral relativism, however, the claim accrues a normative dimension, in that what follows from relativity is the flattening out of rightness, of one moral belief being better than another regardless of culture. But in practice, humans rarely, if ever, actually behave as if certain things or beliefs are not better than others, as evidenced in everything from foreign policy (...)
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  • Naturalizing the Contributory.Philip Fox - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6275-6298.
    This paper has two aims. First, I critically discuss Daniel Whiting’s :2191–2208, 2018) recent proposal that a reason to ϕ is evidence of a respect in which it is right to ϕ. I raise two objections against this view: it is subject to a modified version of Eva Schmidt’s :708–718, 2018) counterexample against the influential account of reasons in terms of evidence and ‘ought’, and—setting aside judgments about specific cases—, it is also in an important sense uninformative. Interestingly, it turns (...)
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  • On Promoting the Dead Certain. A Reply to Behrends, DiPaolo, and Sharadin (Discussion Note).Stefan Fischer - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11 (3):1-13.
    According to Humean promotionalism about practical reasons, the fact that I have a reason to φ holds in virtue of the fact that φ-ing promotes one or more of my desires. The topic of this discussion note is the question of how best to understand the promotion relation. In particular, I defend a probabilistic understanding of promotion against a line of argument recently brought forth by Jeff Behrends, Joshua DiPaolo, and Nate Sharadin. Roughly, their argument is that probabilistic promotion leads (...)
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  • What Ought Probably Means, and Why You Can’T Detach It.Stephen Finlay - 2009 - Synthese 177 (1):67 - 89.
    Some intuitive normative principles raise vexing 'detaching problems' by their failure to license modus ponens. I examine three such principles (a self-reliance principle and two different instrumental principles) and recent stategies employed to resolve their detaching problems. I show that solving these problems necessitates postulating an indefinitely large number of senses for 'ought'. The semantics for 'ought' that is standard in linguistics offers a unifying strategy for solving these problems, but I argue that an alternative approach combining an end-relational theory (...)
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  • The Error in the Error Theory.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
    Moral error theory of the kind defended by J. L. Mackie and Richard Joyce is premised on two claims: (1) that moral judgements essentially presuppose that moral value has absolute authority, and (2) that this presupposition is false, because nothing has absolute authority. This paper accepts (2) but rejects (1). It is argued first that (1) is not the best explanation of the evidence from moral practice, and second that even if it were, the error theory would still be mistaken, (...)
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  • Recent Work on Normativity.Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Analysis 70 (2):331-346.
    Survey of some recent literature on normativity, including nonreductionist, neo-Aristotelian, neo-Humean, expressivist, and constructivist views.
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  • Oughts and Ends.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):315 - 340.
    This paper advances a reductive semantics for ‘ought’ and a naturalistic theory of normativity. It gives a unified analysis of predictive, instrumental, and categorical uses of ‘ought’: the predictive ‘ought’ is basic, and is interpreted in terms of probability. Instrumental ‘oughts’ are analyzed as predictive ‘oughts’ occurring under an ‘in order that’ modifer (the end-relational theory). The theory is then extended to categorical uses of ‘ought’: it is argued that they are special rhetorical uses of the instrumental ‘ought’. Plausible conversational (...)
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  • A “Good” Explanation of Five Puzzles About Reasons.Stephen Finlay - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):62-104.
    This paper champions the view (REG) that the concept of a normative reason for an agent S to perform an action A is that of an explanation why it would be good (in some way, to some degree) for S to do A. REG has numerous virtues, but faces some significant challenges which prompt many philosophers to be skeptical that it can correctly account for all our reasons. I demonstrate how five different puzzles about normative reasons can be solved by (...)
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  • Weight for Stephen Finlay.Daan Evers - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):737-749.
    According to Stephen Finlay, ‘A ought to X’ means that X-ing is more conducive to contextually salient ends than relevant alternatives. This in turn is analysed in terms of probability. I show why this theory of ‘ought’ is hard to square with a theory of a reason’s weight which could explain why ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es. I develop two theories of weight to illustrate my point. I first look at (...)
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  • The End‐Relational Theory of ‘Ought’ and the Weight of Reasons.Daan Evers - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (3):405-417.
    Stephen Finlay analyses ‘ought’ in terms of probability. According to him, normative ‘ought's are statements about the likelihood that an act will realize some (contextually supplied) end. I raise a problem for this theory. It concerns the relation between ‘ought’ and the balance of reasons. ‘A ought to Φ’ seems to entail that the balance of reasons favours that A Φ-es, and vice versa. Given Finlay's semantics for ‘ought’, it also makes sense to think of reasons and their weight in (...)
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  • Probabilistic Promotion and Ability.Luke Elson - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    We often have some reason to do actions insofar as they promote outcomes or states of affairs, such as the satisfaction of a desire. But what is it to promote an outcome? I defend a new version of 'probabilism about promotion'. According to Minimal Probabilistic Promotion, we promote some outcome when we make that outcome more likely than it would have been if we had done something else. This makes promotion easy and reasons cheap.
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  • Reason to Promotion Inferences.Joshua DiPaolo & Jeff Behrends - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2):1-10.
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  • Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355.
    According to epistemic instrumentalism, epistemic normativity arises from and depends on facts about our ends. On that view, a consideration C is an epistemic reason for a subject S to Φ only if Φ-ing would promote an end that S has. However, according to the Too Few Epistemic Reasons objection, this cannot be correct since there are cases in which, intuitively, C is an epistemic reason for S to Φ even though Φ-ing would not promote any of S’s ends. After (...)
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  • Conservatism in Metaethics: A Case Study.Christopher Cowie - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (4-5):605-619.
    Metaethicists typically develop and assess their theories—in part—on the basis of the consistency of those theories with “ordinary” first-order normative judgment. They are, in this sense, “methodologically conservative.” This article shows that this methodologically conservative approach obstructs a proper assessment of the debate between internalists and externalists. Specifically, it obstructs one of the most promising readings of internalism. This is a reading—owed to Bernard Williams—in which internalism is part of a practically and politically motivated revision of the assessment of action. (...)
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  • Normative Theories of Argumentation: Are Some Norms Better Than Others?Adam Corner & Ulrike Hahn - 2013 - Synthese 190 (16):3579-3610.
    Norms—that is, specifications of what we ought to do—play a critical role in the study of informal argumentation, as they do in studies of judgment, decision-making and reasoning more generally. Specifically, they guide a recurring theme: are people rational? Though rules and standards have been central to the study of reasoning, and behavior more generally, there has been little discussion within psychology about why (or indeed if) they should be considered normative despite the considerable philosophical literature that bears on this (...)
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  • Toward a Pluralist and Teleological Theory of Normativity.David Copp - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):21-37.
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  • Reasons as Explanations.John Brunero - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):805-824.
    Can a normative reason be understood as a kind of explanation? I here consider and argue against two important analyses of reasons as explanations. John Broome argues that we can analyze reasons in terms of the concepts of explanation and ought. On his view, reasons to ϕ are either facts that explain why one ought to ϕ (what he calls “perfect reasons”) or facts that play a for-ϕ role in weighing explanations (what he calls “pro tanto reasons”). I argue against (...)
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  • Internalism and Externalism About Reason.Kosuke Bishago - 2016 - Kagaku Tetsugaku 49 (2):27-47.
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  • Probabilistic Promotion Revisited.Jeff Behrends & Joshua DiPaolo - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1735-1754.
    Promotion is the relation between an act and a desire that obtains when the act advances or serves the desire. Under what conditions does an act promote a desire? Probabilistic accounts of promotion, the most prominent accounts, analyze promotion in terms of an increase in the probability of the desire’s satisfaction. In this paper, we clarify the promotion relation and explain why probabilistic accounts are attractive. Then we identify two questions probabilistic accounts must answer: the Baseline Question and the Interpretation (...)
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  • Finlay and Schroeder on Promoting a Desire.Jeff Behrends & Joshua DiPaolo - 2011 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (1):1-7.
    This paper argues against two prominent accounts of what it is to "promote a desire," found in the work of Stephen Finlay and Mark Schroeder.
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  • Moral Relativism in Context.James R. Beebe - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):691-724.
    Consider the following facts about the average, philosophically untrained moral relativist: (1.1) The average moral relativist denies the existence of “absolute moral truths.” (1.2) The average moral relativist often expresses her commitment to moral relativism with slogans like ‘What’s true (or right) for you may not be what’s true (or right) for me’ or ‘What’s true (or right) for your culture may not be what’s true (or right) for my culture.’ (1.3) The average moral relativist endorses relativistic views of morality (...)
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  • What Kind of Theory is the Humean Theory of Motivation?Caroline T. Arruda - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):322-342.
    I consider an underappreciated problem for proponents of the Humean theory of motivation. Namely, it is unclear whether is it to be understood as a largely psychological or largely metaphysical theory. I show that the psychological interpretation of HTM will need to be modified in order to be a tenable view and, as it will turn out, the modifications required render it virtually philosophically empty. I then argue that the largely metaphysical interpretation is the only a plausible interpretation of HTM's (...)
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  • Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2).
    Many philosophers have been attracted to the view that reasons are premises of good reasoning – that reasons to φ are premises of good reasoning towards φ-ing. However, while this reasoning view is indeed attractive, it faces a problem accommodating outweighed reasons. In this article, I argue that the standard solution to this problem is unsuccessful and propose an alternative, which draws on the idea that good patterns of reasoning can be defeasible. I conclude by drawing out implications for the (...)
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  • Racje wewnętrzne, powinności moralne i relatywizm: odpowiedź na polemikę.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2013 - Etyka 46:125-139.
    Tekst Naprawdę jaki jest Bernard Williams utwierdza mnie w przekonaniu, że moje odczytanie tezy internalizmu jest właściwe. Autorka polemiki opiera swą interpretację Williamsa na jednym jego tekście, nie uwzględnia też dyskusji, która toczy się od lat 80. na temat internalizmu, a jej zarzuty dotyczące poprawności mojej argumentacji wynikają z nietrafnego odczytania tego, co napisałem. Podtrzymuję tez tezę, wyrażoną wielokrotnie również przez Williamsa, że racje działania nie są zrelatywizowane względem wiedzy podmiotu. Zgadzam się natomiast z uwagą terminologiczną dotyczącą relatywizmu: wiele stanowisk, (...)
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  • Response‐Dependence and Normativity.Yifan Sun - forthcoming - Theoria.
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  • Towards an Ecumenical Theory of Normative Reasons.Caj Sixten Strandberg - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):69-100.
    A theory of normative reasons for action faces the fundamental challenge of accounting for the dual nature of reasons. On the one hand, some reasons appear to depend on, and vary with, desires. On the other hand, some reasons appear categorical in the sense of being desire‐independent. However, it has turned out to be difficult to provide a theory that accommodates both these aspects. Internalism is able to account for the former aspect, but has difficulties to account for the latter, (...)
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  • An Ecumenical Account of Categorical Moral Reasons.Caj Strandberg - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (2):160-188.
    According to an influential way of understanding the debate between internalism and externalism about normative reasons, these theories confront us with a dilemma. Internalism is taken to involve a view about rationality which is considered less philosophically problematic than its competitors, whereas externalism is taken to suggest a more contentious view concerning this notion. However, the assumption that externalism involves a more demanding notion of rationality implies that it is able to account for categorical moral reasons, whereas internalism is unable (...)
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  • Reason Claims and Contrastivism About Reasons.Justin Snedegar - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):231-242.
    Contrastivism about reasons is the view that ‘reason’ expresses a relation with an argument place for a set of alternatives. This is in opposition to a more traditional theory on which reasons are reasons for things simpliciter. I argue that contrastivism provides a solution to a puzzle involving reason claims that explicitly employ ‘rather than’. Contrastivism solves the puzzle by allowing that some fact might be a reason for an action out of one set of alternatives without being a reason (...)
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  • Contrastive Reasons and Promotion.Justin Snedegar - 2014 - Ethics 125 (1):39-63,.
    A promising but underexplored view about normative reasons is contrastivism, which holds that considerations are fundamentally reasons for things only relative to sets of alternatives. Contrastivism gains an advantage over non-contrastive theories by holding that reasons relative to different sets of alternatives can be independent of one another. But this feature also raises a serious problem: we need some way of constraining this independence. I develop a version of contrastivism that provides the needed constraints, and that is independently motivated by (...)
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  • Reasons, Inescapability and Persuasion.Neil Sinclair - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2823-2844.
    This paper outlines a new metasemantic theory of moral reason statements, focused on explaining how the reasons thus stated can be inescapable. The motivation for the theory is in part that it can explain this and other phenomena concerning moral reasons. The account also suggests a general recipe for explanations of conceptual features of moral reason statements. (Published with Open Access.).
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  • The Normativity of Rationality.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Kiesewetter defends the normativity of rationality by presenting a new solution to the problems that arise from the common assumption that we ought to be rational. He provides a defence of a reason-response conception of rationality, an evidence-relative account of reason, and an explanation of structural irrationality in relation to these accounts.
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  • Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence.Jonas Olson - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
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  • The Obscurity of Internal Reasons.Stephen Finlay - 2009 - Philosophers' Imprint 9:1-22.
    Since its publication in 1979, Bernard Williams' "Internal and External Reasons" has been one of the most influential and widely discussed papers in ethics. I suggest here that the paper's argument has nevertheless been universally misunderstood. On the standard interpretation, his argument—which he subsequently elaborated and defended in further discussions—is perplexingly weak. In the first section I sketch this Standard (or, more provocatively, "Supposed") argument, and detail just how terrible it is. The badness of the argument itself may not be (...)
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  • Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Are there such things as moral truths? How do we know what we should do? And does it matter? Constructivism states that moral truths are neither invented nor discovered, but rather are constructed by rational agents in order to solve practical problems. While constructivism has become the focus of many philosophical debates in normative ethics, meta-ethics and action theory, its importance is still to be fully appreciated. These new essays written by leading scholars define and assess this new approach in (...)
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  • Contextualism in Ethics.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    There are various ways in which context matters in ethics. Most clearly, the context in which an action is performed might determine whether the action is morally right: though it is often wrong not to keep a promise, it might be permissible in certain contexts. More radically, proponents of moral particularism (see particularism) have argued that a reason for an action in one context is not guaranteed to be a reason in a different context: whether it is a reason against (...)
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