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Internal and External Reasons

In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113 (1979)

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  1. Reasons Internalism and the Problem of Depression.Andrew Spaid - forthcoming - Utilitas:1-16.
    This article looks at a version of the “too-few-reasons” problem for reasons internalism stemming from the existence of cases of clinical depression. People with clinical depression lack motivation to do things like go to work or seek treatment for their depression. Internalism appears committed to saying that such people lack reasons to do these things since internalism makes having reasons depend on having motivations. But, intuitively, depressed people do have reasons to do them. This article considers a number of possible (...)
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  • Minding the Gap: Bernard Williams and David Hume on Living an Ethical Life.Sagar Paul - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):615-638.
    Bernard Williams is frequently supposed to be an ethical Humean, due especially to his work on ‘internal’ reasons. In fact Williams’s work after his famous article ‘Internal and External Reasons’ constitutes a profound shift away from Hume’s ethical outlook. Whereas Hume offered a reconciling project whereby our ethical practices could be self-validating without reference to external justificatory foundations, Williams’s later work was increasingly skeptical of any such possibility. I conclude by suggesting reasons for thinking Williams was correct, a finding which (...)
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  • Can There Be Government House Reasons for Action?Hille Paakunainen - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):56-93.
    I defend the relatively orthodox view that reasons for action are premises in good practical reasoning, against recent counterexamples that suggest that, like “government house” moral justifications, some reasons are to be ignored in deliberation. I also explain, positively, what is right about the orthodoxy. Unless reasons are premises in good practical reasoning, reasons cannot be normative in the way they are usually taken to be, and relatedly, are unfit to play certain familiar theoretical and related everyday roles that give (...)
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  • Constructivism, Intersubjectivity, Provability, and Triviality.Andrea Guardo - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (4):515-527.
    Sharon Street defines her constructivism about practical reasons as the view that whether something is a reason to do a certain thing for a given agent depends on that agent’s normative point of view. However, Street has also maintained that there is a judgment about practical reasons which is true relative to every possible normative point of view, namely constructivism itself. I show that the latter thesis is inconsistent with Street’s own constructivism about epistemic reasons and discuss some consequences of (...)
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  • Kant on Acting From Juridical Duty.Andre Santos Campos - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (4):498-514.
    ABSTRACTA much debated passage in the Metaphysics of Morals often leads commentators to believe that it is not possible to act from juridical duty. On the one hand, Kant says that all lawgiving inc...
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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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  • The Normative Source of Kantian Hypothetical Imperatives.Camillia Kong - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):661-690.
    Abstract This paper offers a critique of Christine Korsgaard?s interpretation of Kantian instrumental reason. Korsgaard understands Kantian hypothetical imperatives to share a common normative source with the categorical imperative ? namely self-legislating, human rational agency. However, her reading of Kantian hypothetical imperatives is problematic for three reasons. Firstly, Korsgaard?s agent-centred approach renders incoherent Kant?s analytic-synthetic division. Secondly, by minimising the dualistic framework of Kant?s practical philosophy the dialectical character of practical rationality is lost: norms of instrumental reasoning therefore become confused (...)
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  • The Eclipse of Instrumental Rationality.Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason.
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  • Enkrasia or Evidentialism? Learning to Love Mismatch.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):597-632.
    I formulate a resilient paradox about epistemic rationality, discuss and reject various solutions, and sketch a way out. The paradox exemplifies a tension between a wide range of views of epistemic justification, on the one hand, and enkratic requirements on rationality, on the other. According to the enkratic requirements, certain mismatched doxastic states are irrational, such as believing p, while believing that it is irrational for one to believe p. I focus on an evidentialist view of justification on which a (...)
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  • Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
    Normativity involves two kinds of relation. On the one hand, there is the relation of being a reason for. This is a relation between a fact and an attitude. On the other hand, there are relations specified by requirements of rationality. These are relations among a person's attitudes, viewed in abstraction from the reasons for them. I ask how the normativity of rationality—the sense in which we ‘ought’ to comply with requirements of rationality—is related to the normativity of reasons—the sense (...)
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  • Addressed Blame and Hostility.Benjamin De Mesel - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (1):111-119.
    Benjamin Bagley ('Properly Proleptic Blame', Ethics 127, July 2017) sets out a dilemma for addressed blame, that is, blame addressed to its targets as an implicit demand for recognition. The dilemma arises when we ask whether offenders would actually appreciate this demand, via a sound deliberative route from their existing motivations. If they would, their offense reflects a deliberative mistake. If they wouldn't, addressing them is futile, and blame's emotional engagement seems unwarranted. Bagley wants to resolve the dilemma in such (...)
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  • Reasons, Rationality and Preferences.Stuart Yasgur - 2011 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    The theory of choice receives formal treatment in decision theory, game theory and substantial parts of economics. However there is cause for concern that the formal treatment of the subject has advanced beyond the substantive grounds on which it relies. For, the formal theories fundamentally rely on a concept of preference, which is itself lacking a viable substantive interpretation. Indeed the challenges to the substantive interpretation of ‘preference’ threaten to undermine the standard arguments used to justify the completeness and transitivity (...)
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  • Values of Love: Two Forms of Infinity Characteristic of Human Persons.Sara Heinämaa - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (3):431-450.
    In his late reflections on values and forms of life from the 1920s and 1930s, Husserl develops the concept of personal value and argues that these values open two kinds of infinities in our lives. On the one hand personal values disclose infinite emotive depths in human individuals while on the other hand they connect human individuals in continuous and progressive chains of care. In order to get at the core of the concept, I will explicate Husserl’s discussion of personal (...)
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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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  • Believing for Practical Reasons.Susanna Rinard - 2018 - Noûs (4):763-784.
    Some prominent evidentialists argue that practical considerations cannot be normative reasons for belief because they can’t be motivating reasons for belief. Existing pragmatist responses turn out to depend on the assumption that it’s possible to believe in the absence of evidence. The evidentialist may deny this, at which point the debate ends in an impasse. I propose a new strategy for the pragmatist. This involves conceding that belief in the absence of evidence is impossible. We then argue that evidence can (...)
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  • The Limitations of the Open Mind.Jeremy Fantl - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    When should you engage with difficult arguments against your cherished controversial beliefs? The primary conclusion of this book is that your obligations to engage with counterarguments are more limited than is often thought. In some standard situations, you shouldn't engage with difficult counterarguments and, if you do, you shouldn't engage with them open-mindedly. This conclusion runs counter to aspects of the Millian political tradition and political liberalism, as well as what people working in informal logic tend to say about argumentation. (...)
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  • Subjective Moral Biases & Fallacies: Developing Scientifically & Practically Adequate Moral Analogues of Cognitive Heuristics & Biases.Mark H. Herman - 2019 - Dissertation, Bowling Green State University
    In this dissertation, I construct scientifically and practically adequate moral analogs of cognitive heuristics and biases. Cognitive heuristics are reasoning “shortcuts” that are efficient but flawed. Such flaws yield systematic judgment errors—i.e., cognitive biases. For example, the availability heuristic infers an event’s probability by seeing how easy it is to recall similar events. Since dramatic events, such as airplane crashes, are disproportionately easy to recall, this heuristic explains systematic overestimations of their probability (availability bias). The research program on cognitive heuristics (...)
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  • The Possibility of Love Independent Reasons.Jussi Suikkanen - 2011 - Essays in Philosophy 12 (1):32-54.
    This article is a critical examination of Harry Frankfurt's view of reasons. Frankfurt has argued in a number of recent books for the view which holds that all practical reasons are a function of what we love. This article examines Frankfurt's key argument for this claim. It uses the analogy of a similar argument in the domain of epistemic reasons to show where Frankfurt's argument fails. It also argues that there are a number of plausible views about practical reasons that (...)
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  • Promotionalism, Motivationalism and Reasons to Perform Physically Impossible Actions.Neil Sinclair - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):647-659.
    In this paper I grant the Humean premise that some reasons for action are grounded in the desires of the agents whose reasons they are. I then consider the question of the relation between the reasons and the desires that ground them. According to promotionalism , a desire that p grounds a reason to φ insofar as A’s φing helps promote p . According to motivationalism a desire that p grounds a reason to φ insofar as it explains why, in (...)
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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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  • Knowledgeably Responding to Reasons.Joseph Cunningham - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (3):673-692.
    Jennifer Hornsby has defended the Reasons-Knowledge Thesis : the claim that \-ing because p requires knowing that p, where the ‘because’ at issue is a rationalising ‘because’. She defends by appeal to the thought that it provides the best explanation of why the subject in a certain sort of Gettier case fails to be in a position to \ because p. Dustin Locke and, separately, Nick Hughes, present some modified barn-façade cases which seem to constitute counterexamples to and undermine Hornsby’s (...)
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  • Is Knowledge What It Claims to Be? Bernard Williams and the Absolute Conception.John Tillson - 2013 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 45 (8):860-873.
    As a response to what I see as the challenge posed by constructivist and narrative pedagogies, this paper seeks to sympathetically reconstruct Bernard Williams’ Absolute Conception from the scattered texts in which he briefly sketched it While ultimately defending the Absolute Conception or something close enough to it, the paper criticizes and distances itself from some aspects of Williams’ version, notably his conception of philosophy as insurmountably perspectival. Williams’ understanding of perspectival knowledge as contrasted to absolute knowledge is illustrated with (...)
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  • Personal Autonomy, Decisional Capacity, and Mental Disorder.Lubomira V. Radoilska - 2012 - In Lubomira Radoilska (ed.), Autonomy and Mental Disorder. Oxford University Press.
    In this Introduction, I situate the underlying project “Autonomy and Mental Disorder” with reference to current debates on autonomy in moral and political philosophy, and the philosophy of action. I then offer an overview of the individual contributions. More specifically, I begin by identifying three points of convergence in the debates at issue, stating that autonomy is: 1) a fundamentally liberal concept; 2) an agency concept and; 3) incompatible with (severe) mental disorder. Next, I explore, in the context of decisional (...)
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  • Minding the Gap: Bernard Williams and David Hume on Living an Ethical Life.Paul Sagar - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (4):615-638.
    Bernard Williams is frequently supposed to be an ethical Humean, due especially to his work on ‘internal’ reasons. In fact Williams’s work after his famous article ‘Internal and External Reasons’ constitutes a profound shift away from Hume’s ethical outlook. Whereas Hume offered a reconciling project whereby our ethical practices could be self-validating without reference to external justificatory foundations, Williams’s later work was increasingly skeptical of any such possibility. I conclude by suggesting reasons for thinking Williams was correct, a finding which (...)
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  • The Right and the Wrong Kind of Reasons.Jan Gertken & Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (5):e12412.
    In a number of recent philosophical debates, it has become common to distinguish between two kinds of normative reasons, often called the right kind of reasons (henceforth: RKR) and the wrong kind of reasons (henceforth: WKR). The distinction was first introduced in discussions of the so-called buck-passing account of value, which aims to analyze value properties in terms of reasons for pro-attitudes and has been argued to face the wrong kind of reasons problem. But nowadays it also gets applied in (...)
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  • Will as Commitment and Resolve: An Existential Account of Creativity, Love, Virtue, and Happiness.John J. Davenport - 2007 - Fordham University Press.
    In contemporary philosophy, the will is often regarded as a sheer philosophical fiction. In Will as Commitment and Resolve , Davenport argues not only that the will is the central power of human agency that makes decisions and forms intentions but also that it includes the capacity to generate new motivation different in structure from prepurposive desires. The concept of "projective motivation" is the central innovation in Davenport's existential account of the everyday notion of striving will. Beginning with the contrast (...)
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  • In Defense of Practical Reasons for Belief.Stephanie Leary - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):529-542.
    Many meta-ethicists are alethists: they claim that practical considerations can constitute normative reasons for action, but not for belief. But the alethist owes us an account of the relevant difference between action and belief, which thereby explains this normative difference. Here, I argue that two salient strategies for discharging this burden fail. According to the first strategy, the relevant difference between action and belief is that truth is the constitutive standard of correctness for belief, but not for action, while according (...)
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  • Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure, and Welfare.Chris Heathwood - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:79-106.
    One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other phenomena: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare (...)
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  • Normativity for Nietzschean Free Spirits.Simon Robertson - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (6):591-613.
    A significant portion of recent literature on Nietzsche is devoted to his metaethical views, both critical and positive. This article explores one aspect of his positive metaethics. The specific thesis defended is that Nietzsche is, or is plausibly cast as, a reasons internalist. This, very roughly, is the view that what an agent has normative reason to do depends on that agent's motivational repertoire. Section I sketches some of the metaethical terrain most relevant to Nietzsche's organising ethical project, his “revaluation (...)
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  • Review of "Natural Law & the Nature of Law" by Jonathan Crowe. [REVIEW]Emad Atiq - 2020 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2020.
    Commentary on Crowe's metaethics and his theory of law as a goodness-fixing kind.
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  • The Gamification of Political Participation.Wulf Loh - 2019 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (2):261-280.
    Political participation lies at the heart of normative democratic theory. To foster participatory interactions between citizens, some advocates and designers are resorting to gamification as the use of psycho-motivational involvement strategies from games in non-game contexts. The hope is that through gamification mechanisms, citizens will be drawn more easily towards participation platforms, apps, and digital services, as well as remain there longer, thereby effectively enhancing participation numbers and time. In this article, I will explore the potential problems of these involvement (...)
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  • Moralny horyzont myślenia praktycznego.Agata Łukomska - 2009 - Etyka 42:155-170.
    O ile nie uznajemy moralności za zupełnie irracjonalną, każda jej teoria musi z konieczności zakładać jakąś teorię namysłu praktycznego. Tymczasem próbując opracować tę ostatnią napotykamy poważne problemy; wydaje się, że oceny wyników deliberacji nie możemy dokonywać wyłącznie na podstawie kryteriów stosowanych przy ocenie wyników myślenia teoretycznego, takich jak stopień pewności przyjmowanych przesłanek czy formalna poprawność wnioskowania. Jeśli namysł praktyczny istotnie przebiega zawsze na pozaracjonalnym podłożu żywionych przez jednostkę intuicji i pragnień, to wydaje się, że nie ma nadziei na stworzenie uniwersalnej (...)
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  • Judging Life and Its Value.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2007 - Sorites (18):60-75.
    One’s life can be meaningful, but not worth living, or worth living, but not meaningful, which demonstrates that an evaluation of whether life is worth living differs from an evaluation of whether one’s life is meaningful. But how do these evaluations differ? As I will argue, an evaluation of whether life is worth living is a more comprehensive evaluation than the evaluation of whether one’s individual life is meaningful. In judging whether one finds life worth living, one takes into account, (...)
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  • The Bloomsbury Companion to Kant.Dennis Schulting (ed.) - 2015 - Bloomsbury Academic.
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  • On the Connection Between Normative Reasons and the Possibility of Acting for Those Reasons.Neil Sinclair - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1211-1223.
    According to Bernard Williams, if it is true that A has a normative reason to Φ then it must be possible that A should Φ for that reason. This claim is important both because it restricts the range of reasons which agents can have and because it has been used as a premise in an argument for so-called ‘internalist’ theories of reasons. In this paper I rebut an apparent counterexamples to Williams’ claim: Schroeder’s example of Nate. I argue that this (...)
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  • Normative Reasons: Response-Dependence and the Problem of Idealization.Marko Jurjako - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (3):261-275.
    David Enoch, in his paper “Why Idealize?”, argues that theories of normative reasons that hold that normative facts are subject or response-dependent and include an idealization condition might have a problem in justifying the need for idealization. I argue that at least some response-dependence conceptions of normative reasons can justify idealization. I explore two ways of responding to Enoch’s challenge. One way involves a revisionary stance on the ontological commitments of the normative discourse about reasons. To establish this point, I (...)
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  • John Cook Wilson.Mathieu Marion - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    John Cook Wilson (1849–1915) was Wykeham Professor of Logic at New College, Oxford and the founder of ‘Oxford Realism’, a philosophical movement that flourished at Oxford during the first decades of the 20th century. Although trained as a classicist and a mathematician, his most important contribution was to the theory of knowledge, where he argued that knowledge is factive and not definable in terms of belief, and he criticized ‘hybrid’ and ‘externalist’ accounts. He also argued for direct realism in perception, (...)
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  • Blame and the Metaphysics of Practical Reasons.Elizabeth A. Oljar - 2002 - Disputatio 1 (13):1 - 16.
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  • Is Rationality Normative?John Broome - 2007 - Disputatio 2 (23):161-178.
    Rationality requires various things of you. For example, it requires you not to have contradictory beliefs, and to intend what you believe is a necessary means to an end that you intend. Suppose rationality requires you to F. Does this fact constitute a reason for you to F? Does it even follow from this fact that you have a reason to F? I examine these questions and reach a sceptical conclusion about them. I can find no satisfactory argument to show (...)
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  • Can Trust Itself Ground a Reason to Believe the Trusted?Edward Hinchman - 2012 - Abstracta 6 (S6):47-83.
    Can a reason to believe testimony derive from the addressee’s trust itself or only from reliability in the speaker that the trust perhaps causes? I aim to cast suspicion on the former view, defended by Faulkner, in favor of the latter – despite agreeing with Faulkner’s emphasis on the second-personal normativity of testimonial assurance. Beyond my narrow disagreement with Faulkner lie two broader issues. I argue that Faulkner misappropriates Bernard Williams’s genealogy of testimony when he makes use of Williams’s genealogical (...)
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  • Desire Satisfaction Theories and the Problem of Depression.Andrew Spaid - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
    This dissertation argues that the desire satisfaction theory, arguably the dominant theory of well-being at present, fails to explain why depression is bad for a person. People with clinical depression desire almost nothing, but the few desires they do have are almost all satisfied. So it appears the theory must say these people are relatively well-off. A number of possible responses on behalf of the theory are considered, and I argue that each response either fails outright, or requires modifications to (...)
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  • Worthy Lives.Lisa Rivera - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (2):185-212.
    Susan Wolf's paper "Meaning and Morality" draws our attention to the fact that Williams's objection to Kantian morality is primarily a concern about a possible conflict between morality and that which gives our lives meaning. I argue that the force of Williams's objection requires a more precise understanding of meaning as dependent on our intention to make our lives themselves worthwhile. It is not meaning simpliciter that makes Williams's objective persuasive but rather meaning as arising out of our positive evaluation (...)
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  • Traditional Compatibilism Reformulated and Defended.Markus E. Schlosser - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:277-300.
    Traditional compatibilism about free will is widely considered to be untenable. In particular, the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise appears to be subject to clear counterexamples. I will propose a new version of traditional compatibilism that provides a conditional account of both the ability to do otherwise and the ability to choose to do otherwise, and I will argue that this view withstands the standard objections to traditional compatibilism. For this, I will assume with incompatibilists that the (...)
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  • Interpreting Anscombe’s Intention §32FF.Anne Newstead - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Research 34:157-176.
    G. E. M. Anscombe’s view that agents know what they are doing “without observation” has been met with skepticism and the charge of confusion and falsehood. Simultaneously, some commentators think that Anscombe has captured an important truth about the first-personal character of an agent’s awareness of her actions. This paper attempts an explanation and vindication of Anscombe’s view. The key to the vindication lies in focusing on the role of practical knowledge in an agent’s knowledge of her actions. Few commentators, (...)
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  • Moral Realism Without Values.Noell Birondo - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Research 31:81-102.
    In this paper I draw on some of the work of John McDowell in order to develop a realist account of normative reasons for action. On the view defended here, there can be correct moral judgments that capture the reasons there are for acting in certain ways; and the reasons themselves are just some of the morally relevant facts of the situation about which the judgment is made. Establishing this account relies crucially, I argue, on an appeal to substantive ethical (...)
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  • A New Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism.Justin Morton - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):233-253.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments claim that evolution has influenced our moral faculties in such a way that, if moral realism is true, then we have no positive moral knowledge. I present several popular objections to the standard version of this argument, then give a new EDA that has clear advantages in responding to these objections. Whereas the Standard EDA argues that evolution has selected for many moral beliefs with certain contents, this New EDA claims that evolution has selected for one belief: (...)
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  • Obligation and Regret When There is No Fact of the Matter About What Would Have Happened If You Had Not Done What You Did.Caspar Hare - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):190 - 206.
    It is natural to distinguish between objective and subjective senses of.
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  • Moral Anti-Realism.Richard Joyce - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    It might be expected that it would suffice for the entry for “moral anti-realism” to contain only some links to other entries in this encyclopedia. It could contain a link to “moral realism” and stipulate the negation of the view there described. Alternatively, it could have links to the entries “anti-realism” and “morality” and could stipulate the conjunction of the materials contained therein. The fact that neither of these approaches would be adequate—and, more strikingly, that following the two procedures would (...)
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