Joseph Raz's 'normal justification thesis' is that the normal way of justifying someone's claim to authority over another person is that the latter would comply better with the reasons that apply to him anyway were he to treat the former's directives as authoritative. Darwall argues that this provides 'reasons of the wrong kind' for authority. He turns then to Raz's claim that the fact that treating someone as an authority would enable one to comply better with reasons that apply to (...) him anyway can ground the claim that the putative authority's directives provide 'pre-emptive' and 'exclusionary reasons' for acting. Raz is right that authoritative directives create such reasons, but that is because genuine authority entails accountability for compliance. Practical authority is internal to the concepts of authority and legitimate demand, and the pre-emptive and exclusionary character of reasons created by legitimate demands cannot be understood independently of their second-personal character. (shrink)
What is it for two or more people to be with one another or together? And what role do empathic psychological processes play, either as essential constituents or as typical elements? As I define it, to be genuinely with each other, persons must be jointly aware of their mutual openness to mutual relating. This means, I argue, that being with is a second-personal phenomenon in the sense I discuss in The Second-Person Standpoint. People who are with each other are in (...) one another's presence, where the latter is a matter of second-personal standing or authority, as in the divine presence or in the king's presence. To be with someone is, therefore, to give the other second-personal standing, implicitly, to claim it for oneself and, thus, to enter into a relation of mutual accountability. Second-personal relating, I argue, requires a distinctive form of empathy, projective empathy, through which we imaginatively occupy others' perspectives and view ourselves as if from their point of view. Projective empathy is thus an essential constituent of “being with.” But it is not the only form of empathy that being with typically involves. Further, I discuss ways in which emotional contagion, affect attunement, as well as projective empathy typically enter into the complex psychological (and ethical) phenomenon of being with another person. (shrink)
Punishment and Reparations are sometimes held to express retaliatory emotions whose object is to strike back against a victimizer. I begin by examining a version of this idea in Mill's writings about natural resentment and the sense of justice in Chapter V of Utilitarianism. Mill's view is that the ?natural? sentiment of resentment or ?vengeance? that is at the heart of the concept of justice is essentially retaliatory, therefore has ?nothing moral in it,? and so must be disciplined or moralized (...) from without by the desire to promote the general welfare. I argue to the contrary that if ?reactive attitudes? like resentment and moral blame are understood as Strawson analyzed them, as essentially ?interpersonal? or ?second personal?, they have a different content and function. They implicitly demand respect in a way that also expresses respect for the victimizer as a member of mutually accountable community of moral equals. Some implications of this idea are discussed for the ?expressive theory of punishment? and ?civil recourse? theories of torts. (shrink)
Is the fact that an action would be wrong itself a reason not to perform it? Warranted attitude accounts of value suggest about value, that being valuable is not itself a reason but to the reasons for valuing something in which its value consists. Would a warranted attitude account of moral obligation and wrongness, not entail, therefore, that being morally obligatory or wrong gives no reason for action itself? I argue that this is not true. Although warranted attitude theories of (...) normative concepts entail buck-passing with respect to reasons for the specific attitudes that are inherently involved in the concept, the concepts of moral obligation and wrong are normative not in the first instance for action, but for a distinctive set of attitudes (Strawsonian ) through which we hold ourselves and one another answerable for our actions. On this analysis, moral obligations are demands we legitimately make as representative persons, and the fact that an act would violate such a demand, and so disrespect the authority these demands presuppose, is indeed a reason not to perform the wrongful act that is additional to whatever features make the act wrong. (shrink)
Beginning from an analysis of moral obligation's form that I defend in The Second-Person Standpoint as what we are answerable for as beings with the necessary capacities to enter into relations of mutual accountability, I argue that this analysis has implications for moral obligation's substance. Given what it is to take responsibility for oneself and hold oneself answerable, I argue, it follows that if there are any moral obligations at all, then there must exist a basic pro tanto obligation not (...) to undermine one another's moral autonomy. (shrink)
It is a commonplace that ‘autonomy’ has several different senses in contemporary moral and political discussion. The term’s original meaning was political: a right assumed by states to administer their own affairs. It was not until the nineteenth century that ‘autonomy’ came (in English) to refer also to the conduct of individuals, and even then there were, as now, different meanings.1 Odd as it may seem from our perspective, one that was in play from the beginning was Kant’s notion of (...) “autonomy of the will,”2 as Kant deﬁned it, “the property of the will by which it is a law to itself independently of any property of the objects of volition” (4:440).3That’s a mouthful, to say the least. And interpreting.. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy’s Practical Reality makes a significant contribution to clarifying the relationship between desire and reasons for acting, both the normative reasons we seek in deliberation and the motivating reasons we cite in explanation. About the former, Dancy argues that, not only are normative reasons not all grounded in desires, but, more radically, the fact that one desires something is never itself a normative reason. And he argues that desires fail to figure in motivating reasons also, concluding that neither the (...) fact nor the state of desire is ever a motivating reason for acting. I am in significant agreement with Dancy about these matters, but I want to register some reservations nonetheless. Dancy is certainly right to reject the DBR (desire-based reasons) thesis that all normative reasons are grounded in desires.1 Desires, he points out, call for reasons no less than do actions. But I think he insufficiently appreciates a way in which facts about the agent’s desires and related practical psychic states can provide normative reasons. Not that this gives away anything to Dancy’s Humean opponents. What gives an agent’s desires, values, and moral convictions normative weight, I shall suggest, is her dignity and integrity as an individual person. (shrink)
Principia Ethica set the agenda for analytical metaethics. Moore’s unrelenting focus on fundamentals both brought metaethics into view as a potentially separate area of philosophical inquiry and provided a model of the analytical techniques necessary to pursue it.1 Moore acknowledged that he wasn’t the ﬁrst to insist on a basic irreducible core of all ethical concepts. Although he seems not to have appreciated the roots of this thought in eighteenth-century intuitionists like Clarke, Balguy, and Price, not to mention sentimentalists like (...) Hutcheson and Hume, Moore gave full marks to Sidgwick. According to Moore, Sidgwick was the “only . . . ethical writer” to have clearly seen the irreducibility of ethics’ deﬁning notion.2 Nevertheless, twentieth-century meta-. (shrink)
Consequentialism collects, for the first time, both the main classical sources and the central contemporary expressions of this important position. Edited and introduced by Stephen Darwall, these readings are essential for anyone interested in normative ethics.
Contractualism/Contractarianism collects, for the first time, both major classical sources and central contemporary discussions of these important approaches to philosophical ethics. Edited and introduced by Stephen Darwall, these readings are essential for anyone interested in normative ethics.
Deontology brings together some of the most significant philosophical work on ethics, presenting canonical essays on core questions in moral philosophy. Edited and introduced by Stephen Darwall, these readings are essential for anyone interested in normative theory.
How can an agent's desire or will give him reasons for acting? Not long ago, this might have seemed a silly question, since it was widely believed that all reasons for acting are based in the agent's desires. The interesting question, it seemed, was not how what an agent wants could give him reasons, but how anything else could. In recent years, however, this earlier orthodoxy has increasingly appeared wrongheaded as a growing number of philosophers have come to stress the (...) action-guiding role of reasons in deliberation from the agent's point of view. What a deliberating agent has in view is rarely his own will or desires as such, even if taking something as a reason is intimately tied to desire. Someone who wants to escape a burning building does not evaluate her options by considering which is likeliest to realize what she wants or wills. She is focused, rather, on her desire's object: getting out alive. The fact that a successful route would realize something she wants is apt to strike her as beside the point or, at best, as a trivial bonus. (shrink)
Sidgwick maintains, plausibly, that the concept of a person's good is a normative one and takes for granted that it is normative for the agent's own choice and action. I argue that the normativity of a person's good must be understood in relation to concern for someone for that person's own sake. A person's good, I suggest, is what one should (rationally) want for that person in so far as one cares about him, or what one should want for him (...) for his sake. I examine Sidgwick's defence of the axioms of rational prudence and argue that it is powerless to convince anyone who lacks self-concern or thinks he has no reason to care for himself. To the extent that Sidgwick is persuasive, I argue, it is because he insinuates an assumption of self-concern. Similarly, Sidgwick's defence of the axiom of rational benevolence tacitly assumes, not just impersonality, but equal concern. (shrink)
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