The Dualism of the Practical Reason: Some Interpretations and Responses
Etica and Politica / Ethics & Politics 10 (2):19-41 (2008)
|Abstract||Sidgwick’s dualism of the practical reason is the idea that since egoism and utilitarianism<br>aim both to have rational supremacy in our practical decisions, whenever they conflict<br>there is no stronger reason to follow the dictates of either view. The dualism leaves us<br>with a practical problem: in conflict cases, we cannot be guided by practical reason to<br>decide what all things considered we ought to do. There is an epistemic problem as well:<br>the conflict of egoism and utilitarianism shows that they cannot be both self-evident<br>principles. Only the existence of a just God could, for Sidgwick, prevent the conflict and<br>thus solve the dualism. The paper first explores in detail and rejects some reconstructions<br>of the dualism: a purely logical account, and accounts whereby egoism and utilitarianism<br>are principles of pro tanto reasons or of sufficient reasons. Then it proposes a better account,<br>in which egoism and utilitarianism are logically compatible and yet conflicting<br>principles of all things considered reason. The account is shown to fit with Sidgwick’s<br>view of the dualism and of its practical and epistemic pitfalls. Finally, some views are<br>discussed as to the wider positive significance of the dualism, regarded as a challenge to<br>the rational authority of morality, or as indicating the structural opposition of agentrelative<br>and agent-neutral reasons, or again as the imperfect yet amendable attempt at a<br>comprehensive pluralist theory of practical reasons.|
|Keywords||Henry Sidgwick Practical Reason Utilitarianism Egoism|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Owen McLeod (2000). What is Sidgwick's Dualism of Practical Reason? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (3):273–290.
William K. Frankena (1974). Sidgwick and the Dualism of Practical Reason. The Monist 58 (3):449-467.
David P. Gauthier (1970). Morality and Rational Self-Interest. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.
Colin Farrelly (2003). A Challenge to Brink's Metaphysical Egoism. Res Publica 9 (3).
Francesco Orsi (2012). Sidgwick and the Morality of Purity. Revue d'Etudes Benthamiennes 10 (10).
Michael Smith (2009). Desires, Values, Reasons, and the Dualism of Practical Reason. Ratio 22 (1):98-125.
David M. Holley (2002). Sidgwick's Problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (1):45-65.
Alison Hills (2004). Is Ethics Rationally Required? Inquiry 47 (1):1 – 19.
Added to index2010-04-30
Total downloads40 ( #28,914 of 549,198 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #63,397 of 549,198 )
How can I increase my downloads?