Does Friendship Give Us non-Derivative Partial Reasons

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Abstract
One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at least a necessary condition of a reason’s being partial that it has an explicit relational component. This component, technically, is a rela- tum in the reason relation that itself is a relation between the person to whom the reason applies and the person whom the action for which there is a reason concerns. The second conclusion of the paper is that this relational component is also required for a number of types of putatively impartial reasons. In order to avoid trivialising the distinction between partial and impartial rea- sons, some further sufficient condition must be applied. Finally, there is some prospect for a way of distinguishing between impartial reasons that contain a relational component and partial rea- sons, but that this approach suggests that the question of whether ethics is partial or impartial will be settled at the level of normative ethical discourse, or at least not at the level of discourse about the nature of reasons for action.
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Archival date: 2016-09-12
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2010-09-16

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