Weighting for a plausible Humean theory of reasons

Noûs 41 (1):110–132 (2007)
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This paper addresses the two extensional objections to the Humean Theory of Reasons—that it allows for too many reasons, and that it allows for too few. Although I won’t argue so here, manyof the other objections to the Humean Theoryof Reasons turn on assuming that it cannot successfully deal with these two objections.1 What I will argue, is that the force of the too many and the too few objections to the Humean Theorydepend on whether we assume that Humeans are committed to a thesis about the weight of reasons—one I call Proportionalism. In particular, I’ll show how a version of the Humean Theorythat rejects Proportionalism can reasonablyhope to escape both the too many and the too few objections. This will constitute my defense of this version of the Humean Theory. But then, separately, I will argue that this defense of the Humean Theoryis not ad hoc. I’ll argue that Humeans have no reason to accept Proportionalism in the first place. Or at least, no weightyone. There are three parts to the paper. In Part 1 we introduce the Humean Theoryand the too few reasons objection. I’ll first layout the objection, and then layout the basis for a response on behalf of myfavored version of the Humean Theory. There will be an obvious objection to my defense— but it will turn out to depend on the assumption of Proportionalism. This will constitute myargument that the susceptibilityof the Humean Theoryto..

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California


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