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Reasons

Edited by Errol Lord (University of Pennsylvania)
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Internalism and Externalism about Reasons
  1. J. E. J. Altham & Ross Harrison (eds.) (1995). World, Mind, and Ethics: Essays on the Ethical Philosophy of Bernard Williams. Cambridge University Press.
    Bernard Williams is one of the most influential figures in recent ethical theory, where he has set a considerable part of the current agenda. In this collection, a distinguished international team of philosophers who have been stimulated by Williams' work give new responses to it. The topics covered include equality, consistency, comparisons between science and ethics, integrity, moral reasons, the moral system, and moral knowledge. Williams himself then provides a substantial reply, which in turn shows both the current directions of (...)
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  2. Jonny Anomaly (2013). Review of Derek Parfit, On What Matters. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (3):358-360.
  3. Jonny Anomaly (2008). Internal Reasons and the Ought-Implies-Can Principle. Philosophical Forum 39 (4):469-483.
  4. Steven Arkonovich (2013). Reasons: External and Internal. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell.
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  5. Steven Arkonovich (2013). Varieties of Reasons/Motives Internalism. Philosophy Compass 8 (3):210-219.
    Under what conditions do you have a reason to perform some action? Do you only have reason to do what you want to do? Reasons-motives internalism is the appealingly simple view that unless an agent is, or could be, motivated to act in a certain way, he has no normative reason to act in that way. Thus, according to reasons-motives internalism, facts about an individual’s motivational psychology constrain what is rational for that agent to do. This article canvasses several ways (...)
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  6. Steven Arkonovich (2011). Advisors and Deliberation. Journal of Ethics 15 (4):405-424.
    The paper has two goals. First, it defends one type of subjectivist account of reasons for actions—deliberative accounts—against the criticism that they commit the conditional fallacy. Second, it attempts to show that another type of subjectivist account of practical reasons that has been gaining popularity—ideal advisor accounts—are liable to commit a closely related error. Further, I argue that ideal advisor accounts can avoid the error only by accepting the fundamental theoretical motivation behind deliberative accounts. I conclude that ideal advisor accounts (...)
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  7. Murat Aydede (2014). How to Unify Theories of Sensory Pleasure: An Adverbialist Proposal. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):119-133.
    A lot of qualitatively very different sensations can be pleasant or unpleasant. The Felt-Quality Views that conceive of sensory affect as having an introspectively available common phenomenology or qualitative character face the “heterogeneity problem” of specifying what that qualitative common phenomenology is. In contrast, according to the Attitudinal Views, what is common to all pleasant or unpleasant sensations is that they are all “wanted” or “unwanted” in a certain sort of way. The commonality is explained not on the basis of (...)
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  8. Matthew S. Bedke (2010). Rationalist Restrictions and External Reasons. Philosophical Studies 151 (1):39 - 57.
    Historically, the most persuasive argument against external reasons proceeds through a rationalist restriction: For all agents A, and all actions Φ, there is a reason for A to Φ only if Φing is rationally accessible from A's actual motivational states. Here I distinguish conceptions of rationality, show which one the internalist must rely on to argue against external reasons, and argue that a rationalist restriction that features that conception of rationality is extremely implausible. Other conceptions of rationality can render the (...)
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  9. Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.) (forthcoming). Motivational Internalism. Oxford University Press.
    Motivational internalism—the idea that there is an intrinsic or necessary connection between moral judgment and moral motivation—is a central thesis in a number of metaethical debates. In conjunction with a Humean picture of motivation, it provides a challenge for cognitivist theories that take moral judgments to concern objective aspects of reality. Versions of internalism have potential implications for moral absolutism, realism, non-naturalism, and rationalism. Being a constraint on more detailed conceptoins of moral motivation and moral judgment, it is also directly (...)
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  10. John Brunero (2008). McDowell on External Reasons. European Journal of Philosophy 16 (1):22–42.
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  11. David Chan (ed.) (2008). Values, Rational Choice and the Will.
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  12. David K. Chan (ed.) (2008). Moral Psychology Today: Essays on Values, Rational Choice, and the Will. Springer Verlag.
    This volume is an edited collection of original papers on the theme of Values, Rational Choice, and the Will.
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  13. Allen Coates (2006). Ethical Internalism and Cognitive Theories of Motivation. Philosophical Studies 129 (2):295 - 315.
    Cognitive internalism is the view that moral judgments are both cognitive and motivating. Philosophers have found cognitive internalism to be attractive in part because it seems to offer support for the idea that moral reasons are categorical, that is, independent of agents’ desires. In this paper, I argue that it offers no such support.
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  14. Rachel Cohon (1986). Are External Reasons Impossible? Ethics 96 (3):545-556.
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  15. Bradford Cokelet (2009). Book Reviews: Slaves of the Passions by Mark Schroeder. [REVIEW] Ethics 119 (2):386-389.
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  16. Christopher Cordner (2001). Ethical, Necessity and Internal Reasons. Philosophy 76 (4):541-560.
    Against moral philosophers' traditional preoccupation with ‘ought’ judgments, Bernard Williams has reminded us of the importance of locutions such as ‘I must’, ‘I have to’ and ‘I can't’. He develops an account of the ethical necessity and impossibility these locutions are able to mark. The account draws on his thesis that all reasons for action are ‘internal’. I sketch the account, and then try to show that it is insensitive to important aspects of how the concepts of ethical necessity and (...)
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  17. Christopher Cowley (2005). A New Defence of Williams's Reasons-Internalism. Philosophical Investigations 28 (4):346–368.
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  18. Jonathan Dancy (2003). Précis of Practical Reality. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):423–428.
  19. Stephen L. Darwall (2001). ''Because I Want It&Quot;. Social Philosophy and Policy 18 (2):129-153.
    How can an agent's desire or will give him reasons for acting? Not long ago, this might have seemed a silly question, since it was widely believed that all reasons for acting are based in the agent's desires. The interesting question, it seemed, was not how what an agent wants could give him reasons, but how anything else could. In recent years, however, this earlier orthodoxy has increasingly appeared wrongheaded as a growing number of philosophers have come to stress the (...)
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  20. Stephen L. Darwall (1992). Internalism and Agency. Philosophical Perspectives 6:155-174.
    have come in for increasing attention and controversy. A good example would be recent debates about moral realism where question of the relation between ethics (or ethical judgment) and the will has come to loom large.' Unfortunately, however, the range of positions labelled internalist in ethical writing is bewilderingly large, and only infrequently are important distinctions kept clear.2 Sometimes writers have in mind the view that sincere assent to a moral (or, more generally, an ethical) judgment concerning what one should (...)
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  21. Stephen L. Darwall (1990). Symposia Papers: Autonomist Internalism and the Justification of Morals. Noûs 24 (2):257-267.
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  22. Stephen L. Darwall (1983). Impartial Reason. Cornell University Press.
  23. Stephen Darwall, Allan Gibbard & Peter Railton (1992). Toward Fin de Siècle Ethics: Some Trends. Philosophical Review 101 (1):115-189.
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  24. Heiner F. Klemme Dieter Schönecker & Manfred Kuehn (eds.) (2006). “Practical Reason and Motivational Scepticism”, in Heiner F. Klemme, Manfred Kuehn, Dieter Schönecker, Eds., Moralische Motivation. Kant Und Die Alternativen. Kant-Forschungen. [REVIEW] Felix Meiner Verlag.
  25. Dale Dorsey (2008). Hume's Internalism Reconsidered. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3).
    A practical reason is the sort of thing that is supposed to, as it were, “count in favor of” my doing something. That a proposition p is true is reason for me to believe it. In the same way, the fact that some act is, say, morally required, prudentially required, aesthetically beautiful, etc., might be reasons to perform it. Intuitively speaking, if I could save millions from devastating poverty, I have a reason to do it–a reason that, again intuitively speaking, (...)
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  26. Pascal Engel (2005). Logical Reasons. Philosophical Explorations 8 (1):21 – 38.
    Simon Blackburn has shown that there is an analogy between the problem of moral motivation in ethics (how can moral reasons move us?) and the problem of what we might call the power of logical reasons (how can logical reasons move us, what is the force of the 'logical must?'). In this paper, I explore further the parallel between the internalism problem in ethics and the problem of the power of logical reasons, and defend a version of psychologism about reasons, (...)
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  27. Stephen Finlay (2009). The Obscurity of Internal Reasons. Philosophers' Imprint 9 (7):1-22.
    Since its publication in 1979, Bernard Williams' "Internal and External Reasons" has been one of the most influential and widely discussed papers in ethics. I suggest here that the paper's argument has nevertheless been universally misunderstood. On the standard interpretation, his argument—which he subsequently elaborated and defended in further discussions—is perplexingly weak. In the first section I sketch this Standard (or, more provocatively, "Supposed") argument, and detail just how terrible it is. The badness of the argument itself may not be (...)
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  28. Stephen Finlay (2008). Motivation to the Means. In David Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Values, Rational Choice, and the Will.
    Rationalists including Nagel and Korsgaard argue that motivation to the means to our desired ends cannot be explained by appeal to the desire for the end. They claim that a satisfactory explanation of this motivational connection must appeal to a faculty of practical reason motivated in response to desireindependent norms of reason. This paper builds on ideas in the work of Hume and Donald Davidson to demonstrate how the desire for the end is sufficient for explaining motivation to the means. (...)
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  29. Stephen Finlay (2006). The Reasons That Matter. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):1 – 20.
    Bernard Williams's motivational reasons-internalism fails to capture our first-order reasons judgements, while Derek Parfit's nonnaturalistic reasons-externalism cannot explain the nature or normative authority of reasons. This paper offers an intermediary view, reformulating scepticism about external reasons as the claim not that they don't exist but rather that they don't matter. The end-relational theory of normative reasons is proposed, according to which a reason for an action is a fact that explains why the action would be good relative to some end, (...)
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  30. Stephen Finlay & Mark Schroeder, Reasons for Action: Internal Vs. External. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Often, when there is a reason for you to do something, it is the kind of thing to motivate you to do it. For example, if Max and Caroline are deciding whether to go to the Alcove for dinner, Caroline might mention as a reason in favor, the fact that the Alcove serves onion rings the size of doughnuts, and Max might mention as a reason against, the fact that it is so difficult to get parking there this time of (...)
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  31. William J. FitzPatrick (2004). Reasons, Value, and Particular Agents: Normative Relevance Without Motivational Internalism. Mind 113 (450):285-318.
    While differing widely in other respects, both neo-Humean and neo-Kantian approaches to normativity embrace an internalist thesis linking reasons for acting to potential motivation. This thesis pushes in different directions depending on the underlying view of the powers of practical reason, but either way it sets the stage for an attack on realist attempts to ground reasons directly in facts about value. How can reasons that are not somehow grounded in motivational features of the agent nonetheless count as reasons for (...)
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  32. Patrick Fleming (forthcoming). The Indeterminacy of Desire and Practical Reason. In David K. Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Essays on Values, Rational Choice, and the Will. Springer: Philosophical Studies Series.
    Bernard Williams has famously argued that all reasons for action are internal reasons.1 The internalist requirement on reasons is that all reasons must be linked to the agent’s subjective motivational state by a sound deliberative route. This argument has been the subject of a great deal of debate. In this paper I wish to draw attention to a much less discussed aspect of Williams’ papers on internalism. Williams believes that there is an essential indeterminacy regarding what an agent has a (...)
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  33. Joshua Gert (2008). Williams on Reasons and Rationality. In Daniel Callcut (ed.), Reading Bernard Williams. Routledge.
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  34. Joshua Gert (2003). Internalism and Different Kinds of Reasons. Philosophical Forum 34 (1):53–72.
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  35. Joshua Gert (2002). Avoiding the Conditional Fallacy. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):88-95.
    Over-simple internalist accounts of practical reasons imply that we cannot have reasons to become more rational, because they claim that we have a reason to φ only if we would have some desire to φ if we were fully rational. But if we were fully rational, we would have no desire to become more rational. Robert Johnson has recently argued that in their attempts to avoid this problem, existing versions of internalism yield reasons which do not have an appropriate connection (...)
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  36. Alan H. Goldman (2008). The Case Against Objective Values. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):507 - 524.
    While objective values need not be intrinsically motivating, need not actually motivate us, they would determine what we ought to pursue and protect. They would provide reasons for actions. Objective values would come in degrees, and more objective value would provide stronger reasons. It follows that, if objective value exists, we ought to maximize it in the world. But virtually no one acts with that goal in mind. Furthermore, objective value would exist independently of our subjective valuings. But we have (...)
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  37. Alan H. Goldman (2005). Reason Internalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):505 - 533.
    This paper defends strong internalism about reasons, the view that reasons must relate to pre-existing motivational states, from several kinds of counterexamples, supposed desire independent reasons, that have been proposed. A central distinction drawn is that between there being a reason and an agent's having a reason. For an agent to have an F reason, she must be F-minded. Reasons, as what motivate us, are states of affairs and not themselves desires or motivational states, but they must connect to existing (...)
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  38. Irwin Goldstein (2002). The Good's Magnetism and Ethical Realism. Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):1-14.
    People support ethical antirealism with various arguments. Gilbert Harman thinks if a property of goodness existed, it would have detectable effects on objects that have it. However, Harman reasons, the good has no such detectable effects. Internalists think if good objects had some goodness property, that property would bond to desire and action in a way inconsistent with ethical realism. I defend ethical realism from the two arguments. I explain how good can both name a property and how objects with (...)
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  39. Alex Gregory (2009). Slaves of the Passions? On Schroeder's New Humeanism. Ratio 22 (2):250-257.
    Critical notice of Mark Schroeder's "Slaves of the Passions".
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  40. Mane Hajdin (1992). External Reasons and the Foundations of Morality: Mother Teresa Vs. Thrasymachus. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 26 (3):433-441.
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  41. Richard Paul Hamilton (2004). Might There Be Legal Reasons? Res Publica 10 (4):425-447.
    In this paper, I consider and question an influential position in Anglo-American philosophy of action which suggests that reasons for action must be internal, in other words that statements about reasons for actions must make reference to some fact or set of facts about the agent and her desires. I do so by asking whether legal requirements could be considered as reasons for actions and if in so considering them one must translate statements about legal requirements into statements about the (...)
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  42. Ross Harrison (ed.) (1979). Rational Action: Studies in Philosophy and Social Science. Cambridge University Press.
    This volume is concerned with the concept of rationality and the interrelations between rationality, belief and desire in the explanation and evaluation of ...
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  43. Chris Heathwood (2011). Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure, and Welfare. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:79-106.
    One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other issues: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare (...)
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  44. Tim Henning (2011). Why Be Yourself? Kantian Respect and Frankfurtian Identification. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (245):725-745.
    Harry Frankfurt has claimed that some of our desires are ‘internal’, i.e., our own in a special sense. I defend the idea that a desire's being internal matters in a normative, reasons-involving sense, and offer an explanation for this fact. The explanation is Kantian in spirit. We have reason to respect the desires of persons in so far as respecting them is a way to respect the persons who have them (in some cases, ourselves). But if desires matter normatively in (...)
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  45. Kelly Heuer, Hypotheticalism and the Objectivity of Morality.
    Mark Schroeder’s Slaves of the Passions defends a version of the Humean Theory of Reasons he calls “Hypotheticalism,” according to which all reasons an agent has for action are explained by desires that are in turn explained by reference to her psychology. This paper disputes Schroeder’s claim that his theory has the potential to allay long-standing worries about moral objectivity and normativity within a Humean framework because it fails to attain the requisite level of agent-neutrality for moral reasons. The particular (...)
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  46. Ulrike Heuer (2012). Thick Concepts and Internal Reasons. In Ulrike Heuer & Gerald Lang (eds.), Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams. Oxford University Press, Usa. 219.
  47. Ulrike Heuer & Gerald Lang (eds.) (2012). Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams. Oxford University Press, USA.
    Luck, Value, and Commitment comprises eleven new essays which engage with, or take their point of departure from, the influential work in moral and political philosophy of Bernard Williams (1929-2003).
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  48. Thomas E. Hill Jr (1986). Review: Darwall on Practical Reason. [REVIEW] Ethics 96 (3):604-619.
  49. D. Clayton Hubin (1980). Prudential Reasons. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):63 - 81.
    Several authors, including Thomas Nagel and David Gauthier, have defended the view that reasons of self-interest (prudential reasons) are rationally binding. That is, there is always a reason, bearing on the rational advisability, based on one's self-interest and, as a result, a person may act irrationally by knowingly acting against such reasons regardless of the person's desires or values. Both Nagel and Gauthier argue from the rationally mandatory nature of prudential reasons to the conclusion that moral reasons can be rationally (...)
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  50. Ferenc Huoranszki (2006). Reasons and Passions. Acta Analytica 21 (2):41-53.
    Jonathan Dancy has argued that agents’ reasons for their actions are facts or features of the situations rather than their psychological states. The purpose of the paper is to show that even if we grant that this is so in most of the cases, there is a class of mental states that can be reasons. Although beliefs and desires are not reasons for actions, some emotional states—like loving, liking or disliking someone—can generate reasons. The distinctive feature of these states is (...)
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