Might there be legal reasons?

Res Publica 10 (4):425-447 (2004)
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 psychological state of the agent fulfilling those requirements. Since such a process of translation seems neither necessary nor desirable, I suggest that the crudest forms of the internalist position are found wanting. I discuss a more sophisticated form of internalism put forward by Bernard Williams and criticised by John McDowell. I extend McDowells argument to cover legal reasons and suggest that Williams argument fails to recognise that reasons for action entail standards of correctness that are irreducible to facts about individual character and motivation. I conclude with a brief description of the justificatory status of legal requirements.
Keywords external reasons  internal reasons  legal obligation  McDowell  Williams
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11158-004-2330-x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #126,447 of 1,725,443 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #167,246 of 1,725,443 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.