In Defence of Proportionalism

European Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):313-320 (2014)
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In his book Slaves of the Passions, Mark Schroeder defends a Humean theory of reasons. Humeanism is the view that you have a reason to X only if X‐ing promotes at least one of your desires. But Schroeder rejects a natural companion theory of the weight of reasons, which he calls proportionalism. According to it, the weight of a reason is proportionate to the strength of the desire that grounds it and the extent to which the act promotes the object of that desire. In this paper, I aim to do three things: to show why Schroeder's arguments against proportionalism do not refute it; to identify the real trouble with proportionalism; and to suggest a better way of understanding it. According to this theory, the overall strength of reasons is determined by the agent's preferences.
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