Moral Worth and Knowing How to Respond to Reasons

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It’s one thing to do the right thing. It’s another to be creditable for doing the right thing. Being creditable for doing the right thing requires that one does the right thing out of a morally laudable motive and that there is a non-accidental fit between those two elements. This paper argues that the two main views of morally creditable action – the Right Making Features View and the Rightness Itself View – fail to capture that non-accidentality constraint: the first because it morally credits agents who make heavy-duty moral mistakes; the second because it fails to generalise and is too conservative – a point which this paper gives renewed defence. The paper then goes on to defend and develop an alternative according to which moral worth is mediated by the agent’s knowing how to respond to the reasons of the type which make acting in that way right. It’s argued that this view avoids the problems for the alternatives, and it’s shown that in order for the view to avoid collapsing into a problematic form of Reliabilism we’ll have to think of states of knowing how as essentially successful in character.
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Archival date: 2021-07-18
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