Are all practical reasons based on value?

Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17:27-53 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

According to an attractive and widely held view, all practical reasons are explained in terms of the (instrumental or final) value of the action supported by the reason. I argue that this theory is incompatible with plausible assumptions about the practical reasons that correspond to certain moral rights, including the right to a promised action and the right to an exclusive use of one’s property. The argument is an explanatory rather than extensional one: while the actions supported by the relevant reasons (e.g. keeping a valid promise or respecting property) can be argued to have a certain kind of value, I argue that this value presupposes a moral right, and therefore cannot explain the reason. Reflection on such cases suggest the conclusion that reasons that are subject to normative powers are generally not value-based. This also has important implications for the dialectic between ‘value-first’ and ‘reasons-first’ approaches to normativity.

Author's Profile

Benjamin Kiesewetter
Humboldt University, Berlin

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-08-27

Downloads
925 (#7,230)

6 months
239 (#1,765)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?