How Important Are Possessed Reasons?

Analysis 81 (1):156-167 (2021)
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Central to Errol Lord’s The Importance of Being Rational is the notion of a possessed (objective, normative) reason. For Lord, rationality is a matter of correctly responding to possessed reasons, what rationality requires and permits is that we react in ways that are appropriate given our possessed reasons, and we ought – full stop – to react in ways that are decisively supported by our possessed reasons. Thus for Lord, possessed (objective, normative) reasons are very important indeed. This paper raises some challenges about this picture. In §1, I offer objections to Lord’s accounts of rational requirements. In §2, I offer objections to a central argument for his view of what we ought to do. If successful, these objections suggest that possessed reasons are not as important as Lord thinks. In §3, I consider his account of possessed reasons itself.
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Archival date: 2020-10-15
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