Respect and the Reality of Apparent Reasons

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Abstract
Some say that rationality only requires us to respond to apparent normative reasons. Given the independence of appearance and reality, why think that apparent normative reasons necessarily provide real normative reasons? And if they do not, why think that mistakes of rationality are necessarily real mistakes? This paper gives a novel answer to these questions. I argue first that in the moral domain, there are objective duties of respect that we violate whenever we do what appears to violate our first-order duties. The existence of these duties of respect, I argue, ensures that apparent moral reasons are exceptions to the independence of appearance and reality. I then extend these arguments to the domain of overall reason. Just as there are objective duties of respect for moral reasons that explain moral blameworthiness, so there are objective duties of respect for reasons (period) that explain blameworthiness in the court of overall reason. The existence of these duties ensures that apparent reasons (period) are exceptions to the independence of appearance and reality. The result is a vindication of the normativity of rationality.
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Archival date: 2018-08-05
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