David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Metaphilosophy 40 (2):273-291 (2009)
Abstract: In this article I consider Bernard Williams's argument against the possibility of external reasons for action and his claim that the only reasons for action are therefore internal. Williams's argument appeals to David Hume's claim that reason is the slave of the passions, and to the idea that reasons are capable of motivating the agent who has them. I consider two responses to Williams's argument, by John McDowell and by Stephen Finlay. McDowell claims that even if Hume is right, there might nevertheless be external reasons. Finlay also claims that external reasons exist but, rejecting the connection between reasons and motivation, claims that they don't matter—that is, aren't motivationally significant for the agent whose reasons they are. Although I reject aspects of McDowell's and Finlay's arguments, I argue that external reasons do exist and in particular that any agent has an external reason to satisfy the preconditions of his or her agency.
|Keywords||reasons for action internal reasons preconditions of agency external reasons|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
John Rawls (1971/2005). A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press.
Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (1985). Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Harvard University Press.
Christine M. Korsgaard (1996). Creating the Kingdom of Ends. Cambridge University Press.
David Hume (1739/2000). A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford University Press.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Richard Paul Hamilton (2004). Might There Be Legal Reasons? Res Publica 10 (4):425-447.
Kieran Setiya (2012). Internal Reasons. In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press
Stephen Finlay & Mark Schroeder, Reasons for Action: Internal Vs. External. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Michael Smith (1995). Internal Reasons. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (1):109-131.
Daan Evers (2009). Humean Agent-Neutral Reasons? Philosophical Explorations 12 (1):55 – 67.
Alan Thomas (2009). Internal Reasons and Contractualist Impartiality. Utilitas 14 (2):135.
Bill Pollard (2005). Naturalizing the Space of Reasons. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 (1):69 – 82.
Matthew S. Bedke (2010). Rationalist Restrictions and External Reasons. Philosophical Studies 151 (1):39 - 57.
Derek Parfit (1997). Reasons and Motivation. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):99–130.
Stephen Finlay (2006). The Reasons That Matter. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):1 – 20.
Added to index2009-04-16
Total downloads203 ( #12,375 of 1,789,789 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #121,568 of 1,789,789 )
How can I increase my downloads?