Beyond Objectivism and Subjectivism

In Piotr Makowski, Mateusz Bonecki & Krzysztof Nowak-Posadzy (eds.), Praxiology and the Reasons for Action. Transaction Publishers (2016)
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Subjectivism about reasons is the view that a person has a reason to perform act A if she has some motivation to do A, or would have motivation to do A in certain circumstances. In On What Matters, Derek Parfit presents a series of arguments against subjectivism about reasons. In Parfit’s view, if subjectivism were true, nothing would actually matter. Parfit contends that there are only two positions regarding reasons: objectivism and subjectivism. I will argue for an inclusive position on reasons that is neither subjectivist nor objectivist. On this view of reasons, there are some reasons that are grounded in the motivations of individuals, and there are also reasons that are not grounded in such motivations. On the view I put forward, I contend, against Parfit, that even if there were no objective reasons, it would still be the case that some things matter.

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Fritz J. McDonald
Oakland University


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