David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1/2):45 - 62 (2005)
Why do agent-relative reasons have authority over us, reflective creatures? Reductive accounts base the normativity of agent-relative reasons on agent-neutral considerations like 'having parents caring especially for their own children serves best the interests of all children'. Such accounts, however, beg the question about the source of normativity of agent-relative ways of reason-giving. In this paper, I argue for a non-reductive account of the reflective necessity of agent-relative concerns. Such an account will reveal an important structural complexity of practical reasoning in general. Christine Korsgaard relates the rational binding force of practical reasons to the various identities or self-conceptions under which we value ourselves. The problem is that it is not clear why such self-conceptions would necessitate us rationally, given the fact that most of our identities are simply given. Perhaps, Harry Frankfurt is right in arguing that we are not only necessitated by reason, but also, and predominantly by what we love. I argue, however, that "the necessities of love" (in Frankfurt's phrase) are not to be separated from, but should be seen as belonging to the necessities of reason. Our loves, concerns and related identities provide for a specific and important structure to practical reflection. They function on the background of reasoning, having a specific default role: they would lose their character as concerns, if there was a need for them to be cited on the foreground of deliberation or if there was a need to justify them. This does not mean that our deep concerns cannot be scrutinised. They can only be scrutinised in an indirect way, however, which explains their role in grounding the normativity of agent-relative reasons. It appears that this account can provide for a viable interpretation of Korsgaard's argument about the foundational role of practical identities.
|Keywords||Philosophy Ethics Ontology Political Philosophy|
|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
Jonathan Dancy (1993). Moral Reasons. Blackwell.
Harry Frankfurt (2002). Reply to Eleonore Stump. In Sarah Buss & Lee Overton (eds.), Contours of Agency: Essays on Themes From Harry Frankfurt. Mit Press, Bradford Books. 61--63.
Harry Frankfurt (1982). The Importance of What We Care About. Synthese 53 (2):257-272.
Thomas Nagel (1986). The View From Nowhere. Oxford University Press.
Philip Pettit & Michael Smith (1990). Backgrounding Desire. Philosophical Review 99 (4):565-592.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Theo Van Willigenburg (2005). Reason and Love: A Non-Reductive Analysis of the Normativity of Agent-Relative Reasons. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1-2):45-62.
Joshua Gert (2002). Korsgaard's Private-Reasons Argument. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):303-324.
Michael Cholbi (1999). Egoism and the Publicity of Reason: A Reply to Korsgaard. Social Theory and Practice 25 (3):491-517.
Vaughn E. Huckfeldt (2007). Categorical and Agent-Neutral Reasons in Kantian Justifications of Morality. Philosophia 35 (1):23-41.
Carolyn Mason (2006). Internal Reasons and Practical Limits on Rational Deliberation. Philosophical Explorations 9 (2):163 – 177.
Ruth Chang (2009). Voluntarist Reasons and the Sources of Normativity. In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press.
Jeffrey S. Seidman (2003). Rationality and Reflection. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (2):201-214.
Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen (2011). Reasons and Two Kinds of Fact. In Sliwinski Rysiek & Svensson Frans (eds.), Neither/Nor - Philosophical Papers Dedicated to Erik Carlson on the Occasion of His Fiftieth Birthday. Uppsala Philosophical Studies. 95 - 113.
Michael Ridge, Reasons for Action: Agent-Neutral Vs. Agent-Relative. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen (2009). Normative Reasons and the Agent-Neutral/Relative Dichotomy. Philosophia 37 (2):227-243.
Daan Evers (2009). Humean Agent-Neutral Reasons? Philosophical Explorations 12 (1):55 – 67.
Diane Jeske (2001). Friendship and Reasons of Intimacy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):329-346.
Pamela Hieronymi (2011). Reasons for Action. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):407-427.
Stephen Finlay (2006). The Reasons That Matter. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):1 – 20.
Jussi Suikkanen (2009). Consequentialism, Constraints and The Good-Relative-To: A Reply to Mark Schroeder. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (March 2009):1-9.
Added to index2011-05-29
Total downloads3 ( #323,743 of 1,413,334 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #154,079 of 1,413,334 )
How can I increase my downloads?