Transmission and the Wrong Kind of Reason

Ethics 122 (3):489-515 (2012)
According to fitting-attitudes accounts of value, the valuable is what there is sufficient reason to value. Such accounts face the famous wrong kind of reason problem. For example, if an evil demon threatens to kill you unless you value him, it may appear that you have sufficient reason to value the demon, although he is not valuable. One solution to this problem is to deny that the demon’s threat is a reason to value him. It is instead a reason to want to value the demon, and to bring it about that you value him. However, many proponents of the wrong kind of reason problem find this solution unmotivated. This paper thus offers a new argument for this solution. The argument turns on the ‘transmission’ of reasons – the familiar fact that there is often reason for one action or attitude because there is reason for another. I observe that putative reasons of the wrong kind transmit in a very different way to other reasons. I then argue that this difference is best explained by the hypothesis that putative reasons of the wrong kind are not reasons for the attitude in question, but are instead reasons to want and bring about that attitude.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/664749
 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: 23,209
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
Nathaniel Sharadin (2015). Reasons Wrong and Right. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):371-399.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Pamela Hieronymi (2005). The Wrong Kind of Reason. Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
Leonard Kahn (2011). Moral Blameworthiness and the Reactive Attitudes. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):131-142.
Jennie Louise (2009). Correct Responses and the Priority of the Normative. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):345 - 364.
Jonas Olson (2004). Buck-Passing and the Wrong Kind of Reasons. Philosophical Quarterly 54 (215):295–300.
Ulrike Heuer (2010). Wrongness and Reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2):137 - 152.
Jacob Stegenga (2013). Probabilizing the End. Philosophical Studies 165 (1):95-112.
Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, Marc Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate
Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, M. Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

168 ( #24,140 of 1,940,985 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

20 ( #30,402 of 1,940,985 )

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.