Ambidextrous Reasons (or Why Reasons First's Reasons Aren't Facts)

Philosophers' Imprint 21 (30):1-16 (2021)
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Abstract

The wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem is a problem for attempts to analyze normative properties using only facts about the balance of normative reasons, a style of analysis on which the ‘Reasons First’ programme depends. I argue that this problem cannot be solved if the orthodox view of reasons is true --- that is, if each normative reason is numerically identical with some fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. That’s because solving the WKR problem requires completely distinguishing between the right- and wrong-kind reasons for an attitude. I argue that some facts give both right- and wrong-kind reasons for an attitude. Consequently, no such distinction between the two types of reasons is complete if reasons are facts or the like. I conclude by suggesting that reasons and facts are related by constitution, not identity.

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Nathan Robert Howard
Texas A&M University

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