Many believe that, if true, reason-statements of the form ‘that X is F is a reason to φ’ describe a ‘favouring-relation’ between the fact that X is F and the act of φing. This favouring-relation has been assumed to share many features of other, more concrete relations. This combination of views leads to immediate problems. Firstly, unlike statements about many other relations, reason-statements can be true even when the relata do not exist, i.e., when the relevant facts do not obtain (...) and the relevant acts are not done. Secondly, the previous combination of views also makes it very difficult to draw the distinction between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons. I argue that we should think that the predicate ‘is a reason to’ creates non-extensional contexts in the statements in which it is used. This would both solve the previous problems and avoid the awkward consequences of the so-called slingshot argument. (shrink)
This paper explores the so-called buck-passing accounts of value. These views attempt to use normative notions, such as reasons and ought to explain evaluative notions, such as goodness and value . Thus, according to Scanlon's well-known view, the property of being good is the formal, higher-order property of having some more basic properties that provide reasons to have certain kind of valuing attitudes towards the objects. I begin by tracing some of the long history of such accounts. I then describe (...) the arguments which are typically used to motivate these views. The rest of this article investigates how some of the central details of the buck-passing accounts should be specified, and what kind of problems these views face. (shrink)
Recently, it has been a part of the so-called consequentializing project to attempt to construct versions of consequentialism that can support agent-relative moral constraints. Mark Schroeder has argued that such views are bound to fail because they cannot make sense of the agent relative value on which they need to rely. In this paper, I provide a fitting-attitude account of both agent-relative and agent-neutral values that can together be used to consequentialize agent-relative constraints.
Jackson and Pettit argue that expressivism in metaethics collapses into subjectivism. A sincere utterer of a moral claim must believe that she has certain attitudes to be expressed. The truth-conditions of that belief then allegedly provide truth-conditions also for the moral utterance. Thus, the expressivist cannot deny that moral claims have subjectivist truth-conditions. Critics have argued that this argument fails as stated. I try to show that expressivism does have subjectivist repercussions in a way that avoids the problems of the (...) Jackson-Pettit argument. My argument, based on the norms for asserting moral sentences, attempts to tie expressivists to a more modest form of subjectivism than the previous arguments. (shrink)
In Essays on Derek Parfit's On What Matters, seven leading moral philosophers offer critical evaluations of the central ideas presented in a greatly anticipated new work by world-renowned moral philosopher Derek Parfit. Presents critical assessments of what promises to be one of the key moral philosophy texts of our time Features essays by a team of leading philosophers including Princeton's Michael Smith, one of the world's leading meta-ethicists Addresses Parfit's central thesis - that the main ethical theories can agree on (...) what matters - as well as his defense of moral realism. (shrink)
Rule-consequentialists tend to argue for their normative theory by claiming that their view matches our moral convictions just as well as a pluralist set of Rossian duties. As an additional advantage, rule-consequentialism offers a unifying justification for these duties. I challenge the first part of the ruleconsequentialist argument and show that Rossian duties match our moral convictions better than the rule-consequentialist principles. I ask the rule-consequentialists a simple question. In the case that circumstances change, is the wrongness of acts determined (...) by the ideal principles for the earlier circumstances or by the ideal ones for the new circumstances? I argue that whichever answer the rule-consequentialists give the view leads to normative conclusions that conflict with our moral intuitions. Because some set of Rossian duties can avoid similar problems, rule-consequentialism fails in the reflective equilibrium test advocated by the rule-consequentialists. (shrink)
This paper is a short review of T.M. Scanlon's book What We Owe to Each Other. The book itself is already a philosophical classic. It defence a contractualist ethical theory but also has many interesting things to say about reasons, value, well-being, promises, relativism, and so on.
This paper is a defence of T.M. Scanlon's contractualism - the view that an action is wrong if it is forbidden by the principles which no one could reasonably reject. Such theories have been argued to be redundant in two ways. They are claimed to assume antecedent moral facts to explain which principles could not be reasonably rejected, and the reasons they provide to follow the non-rejectable principles are said to be unnecessary given that we already have sufficient reasons not (...) to do the acts that are forbidden by those principles. In this paper, I try to argue that neither one of these claims is true. (shrink)
In this article, I will defend the so-called buck-passing theory of value. According to this theory, claims about the value of an object refer to the reason-providing properties of the object. The concept of value can thus be analyzed in terms of reasons and the properties of objects that provide them for us. Reasons in this context are considerations that count in favour of certain attitudes. There are four other possibilities of how the connection between reasons and value might be (...) formulated. For example, we can claim that value is a property that provides us with reasons to choose an option that has this property. I argue that none of these four other options can ultimately be defended, and therefore the buck-passing account is the one we ought to accept as the correct one. The case for the buck-passing account becomes even stronger, when we examine the weak points of the most pressing criticism against this account thus far. (shrink)