Moral Rationalism without Overridingness

Ratio 27 (1):100-114 (2013)
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Abstract

Moral Rationalism is the view that if an act is morally required then it is what there is most reason to do. It is often assumed that the truth of Moral Rationalism is dependent on some version of The Overridingness Thesis, the view that moral reasons override nonmoral reasons. However, as Douglas Portmore has pointed out, the two can come apart; we can accept Moral Rationalism without accepting any version of The Overridingness Thesis. Nevertheless, The Overridingness Thesis serves as one of two possible explanations for Moral Rationalism. In this paper I will investigate which of these two explanations a moral rationalist should accept. I will argue that when we properly attend to the form of Moral Rationalism supported by the intuitions that motivate the view, we are left with no reason to accept The Overridingness Thesis.

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Alfred Archer
Tilburg University

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