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The Moral Problem

Blackwell (1994)

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  1. The Conclusion of Practical Reasoning.John Brunero - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (1):13-37.
    According to the Aristotelian Thesis, the conclusion of practical reasoning is an action. Critics argue against it by pointing to cases in which some interference or inability prevents the production of action, yet in which that interference or inability doesn’t impugn the success of an agent’s reasoning. Some of those critics suggest instead that practical reasoning concludes in an intention, while others suggest it concludes in a belief with normative content, such as a belief about what one has conclusive, or (...)
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  • Two roles for reasons: Cause for divorce?Wooram Lee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1993-2008.
    An increasingly popular view in the literature on rationality attempts to vindicate the strong normativity of rationality by giving a unifying account of rational requirements and what one ought to do in terms of reasons that fall within one’s perspective. In this paper, I pose a dilemma for such a view: one’s rationality is determined by a narrower set of reasons, such as the set of reasons that one is attending to, whereas what one ought to do is determined by (...)
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  • Extending the Transparency Method Beyond Belief: A Solution to the Generality Problem.Adam J. Andreotta - 2020 - Acta Analytica 36 (2):191-212.
    According to the Transparency Method, one can know whether one believes that P by attending to a question about the world—namely, ‘Is P true?’ On this view, one can know, for instance, whether one believes that Socrates was a Greek philosopher by attending to the question ‘Was Socrates a Greek philosopher?’ While many think that TM can account for the self-knowledge we can have of such a belief—and belief in general—fewer think that TM can be generalised to account for the (...)
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  • The Causal Autonomy of Reason Explanations and How Not to Worry About Causal Deviance.Karsten R. Stueber - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (1):24-45.
    This essay will defend a causal conception of action explanations in terms of an agent’s reasons by delineating a metaphysical and epistemic framework that allows us to view folk psychology as providing us with causal and autonomous explanatory strategies of accounting for individual agency. At the same time, I will calm philosophical concerns about the issue of causal deviance that have been at the center of the recent debates between causalist and noncausalist interpretations of action explanations. For that purpose, it (...)
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  • Religious Convictions and Moral Motivation.Anndrei Zavaliy - 2020 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 25 (1):141-161.
    Adherence to certain religious beliefs is often cited as both an efficient deterrent to immoral behavior and as an effective trigger of morally praiseworthy actions. I assume the truth of the externalist theory of motivation, emphasizing emotions as the most important non-cognitive elements that causally contribute to behavioral choices. While religious convictions may foster an array of complex emotions in a believer, three emotive states are singled out for a closer analysis: fear, guilt and gratitude. The results of recent empirical (...)
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  • Does Particularism Solve the Moral Problem?1.Kasper Lippert–Rasmussen - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (2):125-140.
    Moral cognitivism, internalism about moral judgements, and Humeanism about motivating reasons all possess attractions.Yet they cannot all be true.This is the so–called moral problem. Dancy offers an interesting particularist response to the moral problem. However, we argue that this response, first, provides an inadequate basis for the distinction between motivating states and states necessary for motivation although not themselves motivators; second, draws no support from considerations about weakness of the will; and third, involves an implausible account of desire.We conclude that (...)
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  • Meta-Ethical Rationalism and the Amoralist Challenge: An Externalist Response to Michael Smith’s Reliability Argument.Gerald Beaulieu - 2007 - Dialogue 46 (4):751-760.
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  • Transformative Choice, Practical Reasons and Trust.Rob Compaijen - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2):275-292.
    In this article I reflect on the question of whether we can have reason to make transformative choices. In attempting to answer it, I do three things. First, I bring forward an internalist account of practical reasons which entails the idea that agents should deliberate to the best of their ability. Second, I discuss L.A. Paul’s views on transformative choice, arguing that, although they present a real problem, the problem is not as profound as she believes it is. Third, I (...)
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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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  • True to Ourselves.Jan Bransen - 1998 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (1):67 – 85.
    The paper addresses the problem of authenticity from a point of view that diverges from the more usual social, political, or moral approaches, by focusing very explicitly on the internal psychological make-up of human agents in an attempt to identify the conditions that would enable us to use the colloquial phrase 'being true to ourselves' in a way that is philosophically tenable. First, it is argued that the most important and problematic condition is the requirement that agents can be the (...)
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  • Assessor Teaching and the Evolution of Human Morality.Laureano Castro, Miguel Ángel Castro-Nogueira, Morris Villarroel & Miguel Ángel Toro - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (1):5-15.
    We consider the evolutionary scheme of morality proposed by Tomasello to defend the idea that the ability to orient the learning of offspring using signs of approval/disapproval could be a decisive and necessary step in the evolution of human morality. Those basic forms of intentional evaluative feedback, something we have called assessor teaching, allow parents to transmit their accumulated experience to their children, both about the behaviors that should be learned as well as how they should be copied. The rationale (...)
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  • Debunking, Supervenience, and Hume’s Principle.Mary Leng - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1083-1103.
    Debunking arguments against both moral and mathematical realism have been pressed, based on the claim that our moral and mathematical beliefs are insensitive to the moral/mathematical facts. In the mathematical case, I argue that the role of Hume’s Principle as a conceptual truth speaks against the debunkers’ claim that it is intelligible to imagine the facts about numbers being otherwise while our evolved responses remain the same. Analogously, I argue, the conceptual supervenience of the moral on the natural speaks presents (...)
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  • Explaining Action.Kieran Setiya - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393.
    Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
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  • Tractatus practico-theoreticus.Nythamar De Oliveira - 2016 - Porto Alegre, Brazil: Editora Fi.
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  • Misinformation, Subjectivism, and the Rational Criticizability of Desire.Jay Jian - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):845-866.
    Orthodox Humeans about normative reasons for action believe that there are no rational principles governing the substantive content of desire. But they also believe that desires with misinformed content should be rejected and cannot be the proper subjective sources of normative reasons for action. These two ideas, I argue, in fact stand in tension with each other: The Humean rejection of misinformed desire actually has to invoke a feasibility principle for desire, a semi-substantive rational principle that is already built into (...)
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  • Deriving Ethics From Action: A Nietzschean Version of Constitutivism.Paul Katsafanas - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (3):620-660.
    This paper has two goals. First, I offer an interpretation of Nietzsche’s puzzling claims about will to power. I argue that the will to power thesis is a version of constitutivism. Constitutivism is the view that we can derive substantive normative conclusions from an account of the nature of agency; in particular, constitutivism rests on the idea that all actions are motivated by a common, higher-order aim, whose presence generates a standard of assessment for actions. Nietzsche’s version of constitutivism is (...)
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  • Tractatus ethico-politicus.Nythamar De Oliveira - 1999 - Porto Alegre, Brazil: Edipucrs.
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  • How Humeans Can Make Normative Beliefs Motivating.William Ratoff - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1245-1265.
    Normative realism faces a problem concerning the practicality of normative judgment, the presumptive view that normative judgments are motivational states. Normative judgments, for the normative realist, must be beliefs. This is problematic because it is difficult to see how any belief could have the necessary connection to motivation required to account for the practicality of normative judgment. After all, the Humean theory of motivation has it that motivated action is only brought about by a belief and a desire working in (...)
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  • Normative Uncertainty and the Dependence Problem.Abelard Podgorski - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):43-70.
    In this paper, I enter the debate between those who hold that our normative uncertainty matters for what we ought to do, and those who hold that only our descriptive uncertainty matters. I argue that existing views in both camps have unacceptable implications in cases where our descriptive beliefs depend on our normative beliefs. I go on to propose a fix which is available only to those who hold that normative uncertainty matters, ultimately leaving the challenge as a threat to (...)
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  • Moral Phenomenology.Uriah Kriegel - 2013 - In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell.
    In the philosophy of mind, the study of mental life has tended to focus on three central aspects of mental states: their representational content, their functional role, and their phenomenal character. The representational content of a mental state is what the state represents, what it is about; its functional role is the role it plays within the functional organization of the subject’s overall psychology; its phenomenal character is the experiential or subjective quality that goes with what it is like, from (...)
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  • Economics and Ethics.Geoffrey Brennan & Daniel Moseley - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    We identify three points of intersection between economics and ethics: the ethics of economics, ethics in economics and ethics out of economics. These points of intersection reveal three types of conversation between economists and moral philosophers that have produced, and may continue to produce, fruitful exchange between the disciplines.
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  • Moral Rationalism and Moral Motivation.Justin Klocksiem - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (1):123-136.
    Several prominent philosophers believe that moral facts are facts about what reasons we have, and that this entails that moral judgments are necessarily and inherently motivating. According to this argument, if morality cannot move us, then it is hard to understand how it could be sensibly regarded as action-guiding or normative. That is, they endorse a traditional argument for motivational judgment internalism based on moral rationalism. This paper criticizes this argument, and argues instead that there is no necessary or conceptual (...)
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  • Philosophia Semper Reformanda: Husserlian Theses on Constitution.Nythamar de Oliveira - 2000 - Manuscrito 23 (2):251-274.
    Starting from the sensuous perception of what is seen, an attempt is made at re-casting a Husserlian theory of constitution of the object of intuition, as one leaves the natural attitude through a transcendental method, by positing several theses so as to avoid the aporias of philosophical binary oppositions such as rationalism and empiri-cism, realism and idealism, logicism and psychologism, subjectivism and objectivism, transcendentalism and ontologism, metaphysics and positivism. Throughout fifty-five theses on constitution, the Husserlian proposal of continuously reforming philosophizing (...)
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  • Lacking, Needing, and Wanting.David Hunter - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    In this paper I offer a novel conception of the nature of wanting. According to it, wanting is simply lacking something one needs. Lacking has no direct connection to goodness but needing does, and that is how goodness figures in to wanting. What a thing needs derives from what it is to be a good thing of its kind. In people, wanting is connected to both knowledge and choice, since a person can know that she wants something and can act (...)
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  • Expresivismo metajurídico, enunciados internos Y aceptación plural: Una exploración crítica.Pablo A. Rapetti - 2017 - Isonomía. Revista de Teoría y Filosofía Del Derecho 47:39-80.
    Uno de los temas de más profundo debate en la filosofía del derecho de los últimos años ha sido el de las maneras en que dar cuenta del fenómeno del desacuerdo entre operadores jurídicos y entre juristas a la hora de desentrañar el contenido del derecho y, por ende, de dar con la respuesta jurídica para controversias particulares. A partir del trabajo de Ronald Dworkin, el tema se ha convertido en un instrumento de intenso análisis crítico del positivismo jurídico y (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if (...)
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  • Love, Reasons, and Desire.Nicholas Drake - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3):591-605.
    This essay defends subjectivism about reasons of love. These are the normative reasons we have to treat those we love especially well, such as the reasons we have to treat our close friends or life partners better than strangers. Subjectivism about reasons of love is the view that every reason of love a person has is correctly explained by her desires. I formulate a version of subjectivism about reasons of love and defend it against three objections that have been made (...)
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  • Divine Will Theory: Desires or Intentions?Christian Miller - 2009 - In Jonathan Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press.
    Due largely to the work of Mark Murphy and Philip Quinn, divine will theory has emerged as a legitimate alternative to divine command theory in recent years. As an initial characterization, divine will theory is a view of deontological properties according to which, for instance, an agent S‟s obligation to perform action A in circumstances C is grounded in God‟s will that S A in C. Characterized this abstractly, divine will theory does not specify which kind of mental state is (...)
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  • La explicación evolutiva: Los límites de las teorías del deseo cerca de lo desagradable.Abraham Sapién - 2019 - Contrastes. Revista Internacional de Filosofia 23 (3).
    Varios teóricos han defendido que lo desagradable se puede explicar apelando a los deseos acerca de que ciertas experiencias no ocurran. En pocas palabras, las experiencias son desagradables porque no las queremos, y no al revés. Una crítica común para este enfoque toma la forma de un dilema de Eutifrón. Incluso si hay una solución para esta crítica, sostengo que este tipo de enfoque está limitado de dos maneras importantes. No puede proporcionar una explicación para: i) la motivación, desde el (...)
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  • Defending the Motivational Theory of Desire.David Pineda Oliva - forthcoming - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science.
    In this paper I offer a defense of the motivational theory of desire. According to the motivational view, a desire is basically a disposition to bring about the desire's content. First, I argue that two rival views on the nature of desire, the evaluative theory and the deontic theory, fall prey to the problem of the death of desire and that, when one tries to develop a plausible version of these theories which is able to overcome this problem, one ends (...)
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  • Psychopathy, Agency, and Practical Reason.Monique Wonderly - 2021 - In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 262-275.
    Philosophers have urged that considerations about the psychopath’s capacity for practical rationality can help to advance metaethical debates. These debates include the role of rational faculties in moral judgment and action, the relationship between moral judgment and moral motivation, and the capacities required for morally responsible agency. I discuss how the psychopath’s capacity for practical reason features in these debates, and I identify several takeaway lessons from the relevant literature. Specifically, I show how the insights contained therein can illuminate the (...)
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  • The Significance of Significant Fundamental Moral Disagreement.Richard Rowland - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):802-831.
    This paper is about how moral disagreement matters for metaethics. It has four parts. In the first part I argue that moral facts are subject to a certain epistemic accessibility requirement. Namely, moral facts must be accessible to some possible agent. In the second part I show that because this accessibility requirement on moral facts holds, there is a route from facts about the moral disagreements of agents in idealized conditions to conclusions about what moral facts there are. In the (...)
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  • Quasi-Realism and Fundamental Moral Error.Andy Egan - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):205 – 219.
    A common first reaction to expressivist and quasi-realist theories is the thought that, if these theories are right, there's some objectionable sense in which we can't be wrong about morality. This worry turns out to be surprisingly difficult to make stick - an account of moral error as instability under improving changes provides the quasi-realist with the resources to explain many of our concerns about moral error. The story breaks down, though, in the case of fundamental moral error. This is (...)
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  • 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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  • Realism and Reduction: The Quest for Robustness.Mark Schroeder - 2005 - Philosophers' Imprint 5:1-18.
    It doesn’t seem possible to be a realist about the traditional Christian God while claiming to be able to reduce God talk in naturalistically acceptable terms. Reduction, in this case, seems obviously eliminativist. Many philosophers seem to think that the same is true of the normative—that reductive “realists” about the normative are not really realists about the normative at all, or at least, only in some attenuated sense. This paper takes on the challenge of articulating what it is that makes (...)
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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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  • Why Be an Agent?Evan Tiffany - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):223 - 233.
    Constitutivism is the view that it is possible to derive contentful, normatively binding demands of practical reason and morality from the constitutive features of agency. Whereas much of the debate has focused on the constitutivist's ability to derive content, David Enoch has challenged her ability to generate normativity. Even if one can derive content from the constitutive aims of agency, one could simply demur: ?Bah! Agency, shmagency?. The ?Why be moral?? question would be replaced by the ?Why be an agent?? (...)
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  • Realism and Constructivism in Kantian Metaethics 1 : Realism and Constructivism in a Kantian Context.Karl Schafer - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (10):690-701.
    Metaethical constructivism is one of the main movements within contemporary metaethics – especially among those with Kantian inclinations. But both the philosophical coherence and the Kantian pedigree of constructivism are hotly contested. In the first half of this article, I first explore the sense in which Kant's own views might be described as constructivist and then use the resulting understanding as a guide to how we might think about Kantian constructivism today. Along the way, I hope to suggest that a (...)
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  • A Metaethical Option for Theists.Kyle Swan - 2006 - In Journal of Religious Ethics. pp. 3-20.
    John Hare has proposed “prescriptive realism” in an attempt to stake out a middle-ground position in the twentieth century Anglo-American debates concerning metaethics between substantive moral realists and antirealist-expressivists. The account is supposed to preserve both the normativity and objectivity of moral judgments. Hare defends a version of divine command theory. The proposal succeeds in establishing the middle-ground position Hare intended. However, I argue that prescriptive realism can be strengthened in an interesting way.
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  • The Guise of Reasons.Alex Gregory - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):63-72.
    In this paper it is argued that we should amend the traditional understanding of the view known as the guise of the good. The guise of the good is traditionally understood as the view that we only want to act in ways that we believe to be good in some way. But it is argued that a more plausible view is that we only want to act in ways that we believe we have normative reason to act in. This change (...)
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  • Expressivism and Dispositional Desires.Caj Strandberg - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):81-91.
    According to a persistent objection against metaethical expressivism, this view is committed to a strong version of internalism which is unable to account for cases where a person’s moral judgment and motivation come apart. Recently, leading expressivists have argued that they can meet this objection by maintaining that moral judgments consist in non-cognitive states that motivate in normal conditions. In this paper, it is maintained that an important dimension of internalism has, on the whole, gone unnoticed: Internalist claims vary depending (...)
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  • Moral and Metaethical Pluralism: Unity in Variation.Ragnar Francén Olinder - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):583-601.
    The most basic argument for moral relativism is that different people are disposed to apply moral terms, such as ‘morally right’ and ‘morally wrong’, and the corresponding concepts, to different acts. In this paper, I argue that the standard forms of moral relativism fail to account for certain instances of fundamental variation, namely, variation in metaethical intuitions, and I develop a form of relativism—pluralism—that does account for them. I identify two challenges that pluralism faces. To answer the challenges, I first (...)
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  • What Does Decision Theory Have to Do with Wanting?Milo Phillips-Brown - forthcoming - Mind.
    Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, a dubious (...)
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  • Constitutive Rules, Language, and Ontology.Frank Hindriks - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (2):253-275.
    It is a commonplace within philosophy that the ontology of institutions can be captured in terms of constitutive rules. What exactly such rules are, however, is not well understood. They are usually contrasted to regulative rules: constitutive rules (such as the rules of chess) make institutional actions possible, whereas regulative rules (such as the rules of etiquette) pertain to actions that can be performed independently of such rules. Some, however, maintain that the distinction between regulative and constitutive rules is merely (...)
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  • A Dual Aspect Account of Moral Language.Caj Strandberg - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):87-122.
    It is often observed in metaethics that moral language displays a certain duality in as much as it seems to concern both objective facts in the world and subjective attitudes that move to action. In this paper, I defend The Dual Aspect Account which is intended to capture this duality: A person’s utterance of a sentence according to which φing has a moral characteristic, such as “φing is wrong,” conveys two things: The sentence expresses, in virtue of its conventional meaning, (...)
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  • What is a Reason to Act?Kieran Setiya - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):221-235.
    Argues for a conception of reasons as premises of practical reasoning. This conception is applied to questions about ignorance, advice, enabling conditions, "ought," and evidence.
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  • The Rise and Fall of Experimental Philosophy.Antti Kauppinen - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):95 – 118.
    In disputes about conceptual analysis, each side typically appeals to pre-theoretical 'intuitions' about particular cases. Recently, many naturalistically oriented philosophers have suggested that these appeals should be understood as empirical hypotheses about what people would say when presented with descriptions of situations, and have consequently conducted surveys on non-specialists. I argue that this philosophical research programme, a key branch of what is known as 'experimental philosophy', rests on mistaken assumptions about the relation between people's concepts and their linguistic behaviour. The (...)
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  • Reasons for Belief, Reasons for Action, the Aim of Belief, and the Aim of Action.Daniel Whiting - 2014 - In Clayton Littlejohn & John Turri (eds.), Epistemic Norms: New Essays on Action, Belief, and Assertion. Oxford University Press.
    Subjects appear to take only evidential considerations to provide reason or justification for believing. That is to say that subjects do not take practical considerations—the kind of considerations which might speak in favour of or justify an action or decision—to speak in favour of or justify believing. This is puzzling; after all, practical considerations often seem far more important than matters of truth and falsity. In this paper, I suggest that one cannot explain this, as many have tried, merely by (...)
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  • Two Arguments for Evidentialism.Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):805-818.
    Evidentialism is the thesis that all reasons to believe p are evidence for p. Pragmatists hold that pragmatic considerations – incentives for believing – can also be reasons to believe. Nishi Shah, Thomas Kelly and others have argued for evidentialism on the grounds that incentives for belief fail a ‘reasoning constraint’ on reasons: roughly, reasons must be considerations we can reason from, but we cannot reason from incentives to belief. In the first half of the paper, I show that this (...)
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  • Acting and Believing Under the Guise of Normative Reasons.Keshav Singh - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):409-430.
    In this paper, I defend an account of the reasons for which we act, believe, and so on for any Ф such that there can be reasons for which we Ф. Such reasons are standardly called motivating reasons. I argue that three dominant views of motivating reasons all fail to capture the ordinary concept of a motivating reason. I show this by drawing out three constraints on what motivating reasons must be, and demonstrating how each view fails to satisfy at (...)
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