How Reasons Determine Moral Requirements

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 18. Oxford, Vereinigtes Königreich: (forthcoming)
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Cases of heroic supererogation have been taken to suggest that non-moral reasons are morally relevant. While non-moral reasons are unable to make actions morally required, they can prevent moral reasons from doing so. I argue that non-moral reasons are morally relevant in yet another way, since they can also play an essential role in making it the case that an action is morally required. Even though non-moral reasons are not able themselves to make actions morally required, they can prevent reasons that otherwise would prevent moral reasons from making actions morally required from doing so. I elaborate and defend this view, and I show how it can be made the basis of an explanation of moral requirements in terms of reasons that is to be preferred over rival accounts.

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Thomas Schmidt
Humboldt University, Berlin


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