The wrong answer to an improper question?

Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 33:pp. 97-130 (2010)
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A philosopher who asks “Why be moral?” is asking a theoretical question about the force of moral reasons or about the normative status of morality. Two questions need to be distinguished. First, assuming that there is a morally preferred way to live or to be, is there any (further) reason to be this way or to act this way? Second, if moral considerations are a source of reasons, why is this, and what is the significance of these reasons? This question asks for a ‘grounding’ of morality. The paper mainly addresses the second of these questions. After briefly discussing H.A. Prichard's views, I I consider attempts to answer the question by ‘reducing’ morality to practical reason and I consider T.M. Scanlon’s approach. I conclude by offering my own account.

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David Copp
University of California, Davis


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