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  1. What Ought Probably Means, and Why You Can’T Detach It.Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Synthese 177 (1):67 - 89.
    Some intuitive normative principles raise vexing 'detaching problems' by their failure to license modus ponens. I examine three such principles (a self-reliance principle and two different instrumental principles) and recent stategies employed to resolve their detaching problems. I show that solving these problems necessitates postulating an indefinitely large number of senses for 'ought'. The semantics for 'ought' that is standard in linguistics offers a unifying strategy for solving these problems, but I argue that an alternative approach combining an end-relational theory (...)
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  2. Should Reasons Be Our Guide?Clayton Littlejohn - manuscript
    This paper examines the idea that normative reasons are things that should provide us with guidance. This idea deserves careful scrutiny because it plays a prominent role in recent discussions of reasons, rationality, and obligation. On some ways of understanding this idea, it is harmless enough. On some ways of understanding this idea, it is a mistake that might beget further mistakes. After arguing that we should reject the idea that normative reasons can only help to determine obligation if they (...)
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  3. Maximalism Vs. Omnism About Reasons.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    The performance of one option can entail the performance of another. For instance, I have the option of baking a pumpkin pie as well as the option of baking a pie, and the former entails the latter. Now, suppose that I have both reason to bake a pie and reason to bake a pumpkin pie. This raises the question: Which, if either, is more fundamental than the other? Do I have reason to bake a pie because I have reason to (...)
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  4. What Are Our Options?Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    We ought to perform our best option—that is, the option that we have most reason, all things considered, to perform. This is perhaps the most fundamental and least controversial of all normative principles concerning action. Yet, it is not, I believe, well understood. For even setting aside questions about what our reasons are and about how best to formulate the principle, there is a question about how we should construe our options. This question is of the upmost importance, for which (...)
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  5. Is There a Liberal Principle of Instrumental Transmission?Jan Gertken & Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018
    Some of our reasons for action are grounded in the fact that the action in question is a means to something else we have reason to do. This raises the question as to which principles govern the transmission of reasons from ends to means. In this paper, we discuss the merits and demerits of a liberal transmission principle, which plays a prominent role in the current literature. The principle states that an agent has an instrumental reason to whenever -ing is (...)
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  6. The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'.Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
    Here we focus on two questions: What is the proper semantics for deontic modal expressions in English? And what is the connection between true deontic modal statements and normative reasons? Our contribution towards thinking about the first, which makes up the bulk of our paper, considers a representative sample of recent challenges to a Kratzer-style formal semantics for modal expressions, as well as the rival views—Fabrizio Cariani’s contrastivism, John MacFarlane’s relativism, and Mark Schroeder’s ambiguity theory—those challenges are thought to motivate. (...)
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  7. The Goals of Moral Worth.Nathan Robert Howard - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    While it is tempting to suppose that an act has moral worth just when and because it is motivated by sufficient moral reasons, philosophers have, largely, come to doubt this analysis. Doubt is rooted in two claims. The first is that some facts can motivate a given act in multiple ways, not all of which are consistent with moral worth. The second is the orthodox view that normative reasons are facts. I defend the tempting analysis by proposing and defending a (...)
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  8. Ambidextrous Reasons (or Why Reasons First's Reasons Aren't Facts).Nathan Robert Howard - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    The wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem is a problem for attempts to analyze normative properties using only facts about the balance of normative reasons, a style of analysis on which the ‘Reasons First’ programme depends. I argue that this problem cannot be solved if the orthodox view of reasons is true --- that is, if each normative reason is numerically identical with some fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. That’s because solving the WKR problem requires completely distinguishing between the right- and (...)
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  9. Rationality as the Rule of Reason.Antti Kauppinen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The demands of rationality are linked both to our subjective normative perspective (given that rationality is a person-level concept) and to objective reasons or favoring relations (given that rationality is non-contingently authoritative for us). In this paper, I propose a new way of reconciling the tension between these two aspects: roughly, what rationality requires of us is having the attitudes that correspond to our take on reasons in the light of our evidence, but only if it is competent. I show (...)
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  10. Weighing Explanations.Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - forthcoming - In Andrew Reisner & Iwao Hirose (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: A Festschrift for John Broome. Oxford University Press.
  11. Are Epistemic Reasons Normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if (...)
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  12. Perspectives and Good Dispositions.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    I begin with various cases that have been used to motivate the need for a more “subjective” kind of ought, and accompanying norms, in both the practical and theoretical domains. I outline a broad paradigm for thinking about such oughts, which I call perspectivist. According to this paradigm, what one ought to do and believe is fixed by one’s perspective, which is a kind of representation of the world (e.g. the propositions constituting one’s evidence). My purpose is to sketch and (...)
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  13. Objectivism and Subjectivism in Epistemology.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Veli Mitova (ed.), The Factive Turn in Epistemology. Cambridge University Press.
    There is a kind of objectivism in epistemology that involves the acceptance of objective epistemic norms. It is generally regarded as harmless. There is another kind of objectivism in epistemology that involves the acceptance of an objectivist account of justification, one that takes the justification of a belief to turn on its accuracy. It is generally regarded as hopeless. It is a strange and unfortunate sociological fact that these attitudes are so prevalent. Objectivism about norms and justification stand or fall (...)
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  14. Determined by Reasons: A Competence Account of Acting for a Normative Reason, by Susanne Mantel. Review for Mind. [REVIEW]Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - Mind.
    A review of Susanne Mantel's book, Determined by Reasons (Routledge).
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  15. “Adding Up” Reasons: Lessons for Reductive and Non-Reductive Approaches.Shyam Nair - forthcoming - Ethics.
    How do multiple reasons combine to support a conclusion about what to do or believe? This question raises two challenges: (1) how can we represent the strength of a reason? (2) how do the strengths of multiple reasons combine?. Analogous challenges about confirmation have been answered using probabilistic tools. Can reductive and non-reductive theories of reasons use these tools to answer their challenges? Yes, or more exactly: Reductive theories can answer both challenges. Non-reductive theories, with the help of a (new?) (...)
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  16. How Can There Be Reasoning to Action?John Schwenkler - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    In general we think of reasoning as a way of moving from some body of evidence to a belief that is drawn as a conclusion from it. But is it possible for reasoning to conclude in action, i.e., in a person’s intentionally doing one thing or another? In PRACTICAL SHAPE Jonathan Dancy answers 'Yes', on the grounds that "when an agent deliberates well and then acts accordingly, the action done is of the sort most favoured by the considerations rehearsed, taken (...)
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  17. Competing Reasons.Justin Snedegar - forthcoming - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter investigates different ways that pro tanto reasons bearing on our options can compete with one another in order to determine the overall normative status of those options. It argues for two key claims: (i) any theory of this competition must include a distinct role for reasons against, in addition to reasons for, and (ii) any theory must allow for comparative verdicts about how strongly supported the options are by the reasons, rather than simply which options are permissible or (...)
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  18. Reasons, Competition, and Latitude.Justin Snedegar - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 16. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The overall moral status of an option—whether it is required, permissible, forbidden, or something we really should do—is explained by competition between the contributory reasons bearing on that option and the alternatives. A familiar challenge for accounts of this competition is to explain the existence of latitude: there are usually multiple permissible options, rather than a single required option. One strategy is to appeal to distinctions between reasons that compete in different ways. Philosophers have introduced various kinds of non-requiring reasons (...)
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  19. Guided by Guided by the Truth: Objectivism and Perspectivism in Ethics and Epistemology.Daniel Whiting - forthcoming - In A. K. Flowerree & Baron Reed (eds.), Towards an Expansive Epistemology: Norms, Action, and the Social Sphere. Routledge.
    According to ethical objectivism, what a person should do depends on the facts, as opposed to their perspective on the facts. A long-standing challenge to this view is that it fails to accommodate the role that norms play in guiding a person’s action. Roughly, if the facts that determine what a person should do lie beyond their ken, they cannot inform a person’s deliberations. This paper explores two recent developments of this line of thought. Both focus on the epistemic counterpart (...)
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  20. How Do Reasons Transmit to Non-Necessary Means?Benjamin Kiesewetter & Jan Gertken - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):271-285.
    Which principles govern the transmission of reasons from ends to means? Some philosophers have suggested a liberal transmission principle, according to which agents have an instrumental reason for an action whenever this action is a means for them to do what they have non-instrumental reason to do. In this paper, we (i) discuss the merits and demerits of the liberal transmission principle, (ii) argue that there are good reasons to reject it, and (iii) present an alternative, less liberal transmission principle, (...)
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  21. Reasons As Evidence Against Ought-Nots.Kok Yong Lee - 2021 - Philosophical Papers 49 (3):431-455.
    Reasons evidentialism is the view that normative reasons can be analyzed in terms of evidence about oughts (i.e., propositions concerning whether or not S ought to phi). In this paper, I defend a new reason-evidentialist account according to which normative reasons are evidence against propositions of the form S ought not to phi. The arguments for my view have two strands. First of all, I argue that my view can account for three difficulty cases, cases where (i) a fact is (...)
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  22. Normative Metaphysics for Accountants.Barry Maguire & Justin Snedegar - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):363-384.
    We use normative reasons in a bewildering variety of different ways. And yet, as many recent theorists have shown, one can discern systematic distinctions underlying this complexity. This paper is a contribution to this project of constructive normative metaphysics. We aim to bring a black sheep back into the flock: the balancing model of weighing reasons. This model is threatened by a variety of cases in which distinct reasons overlap, in the sense that they do not contribute separate weight for (...)
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  23. How Important Are Possessed Reasons?Jonathan Way - 2021 - Analysis 81 (1):156-167.
    Central to Errol Lord’s The Importance of Being Rational is the notion of a possessed (objective, normative) reason. For Lord, rationality is a matter of correctly responding to possessed reasons, what rationality requires and permits is that we react in ways that are appropriate given our possessed reasons, and we ought – full stop – to react in ways that are decisively supported by our possessed reasons. Thus for Lord, possessed (objective, normative) reasons are very important indeed. This paper raises (...)
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  24. Aesthetic Reasons and the Demands They (Do Not) Make.Daniel Whiting - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):407-427.
    What does the aesthetic ask of us? What claims do the aesthetic features of the objects and events in our environment make on us? My answer in this paper is: that depends. Aesthetic reasons can only justify feelings – they cannot demand them. A corollary of this is that there are no aesthetic obligations to feel, only permissions. However, I argue, aesthetic reasons can demand actions – they do not merely justify them. A corollary of this is that there are (...)
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  25. Instrumental Rationality: The Normativity of Means-Ends Coherence.John Brunero - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Rationality requires that we intend the means that we believe are necessary for achieving our ends. Instrumental Rationality explores the formulation and status of this requirement of means-ends coherence. In particular, it is concerned with understanding what means-ends coherence requires of us as believers and agents, and why.
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  26. Options Must Be External.Justis Koon - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1175-1189.
    Brian Hedden has proposed that any successful account of options for the subjective “ought” must satisfy two constraints: first, it must ensure that we are able to carry out each of the options available to us, and second, it should guarantee that the set of options available to us supervenes on our mental states. In this paper I show that, due to the ever-present possibility of Frankfurt-style cases, these two constraints jointly entail that no agent has any options at any (...)
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  27. Two roles for reasons: Cause for divorce?Wooram Lee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1993-2008.
    An increasingly popular view in the literature on rationality attempts to vindicate the strong normativity of rationality by giving a unifying account of rational requirements and what one ought to do in terms of reasons that fall within one’s perspective. In this paper, I pose a dilemma for such a view: one’s rationality is determined by a narrower set of reasons, such as the set of reasons that one is attending to, whereas what one ought to do is determined by (...)
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  28. Supererogation and the Case Against an 'Overall Ought'.Elizabeth Ventham - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2):181-192.
    This paper argues against a kind of 'overall ought'. The main argument is a version of the paradox of supererogation. The problem is this: obligating an agent to do what’s overall best will, when that differs from what’s morally best, obligate the agent not to do what’s morally best. This, the paper will argue, is implausible. For each of four possible interpretations of this overall ought concept, it will either come across a form of this paradox or no longer look (...)
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  29. Redundant Reasons.Daniel Wodak - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):266-278.
    It is commonly held that p is a reason for A to ϕ only if p explains why A ought to ϕ. I argue that this view must be rejected because there are reasons for A to ϕ that would be redundant in any ex...
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  30. Tim Henning, From a Rational Point of View: How We Represent Subjective Perspectives in Practical Discourse. [REVIEW]Samuel Asarnow - 2019 - Ethics 130 (1):113-118.
    Reasons internalists claim that facts about normative reasons for action are facts about which actions would promote an agent’s goals and values. Reasons internalism is popular, even though paradigmatic versions have moral consequences many find unwelcome. This article reconstructs an influential but understudied argument for reasons internalism, the “if I were you” argument, which is due to Bernard Williams and Kate Manne. I raise an objection to the argument and argue that replying to it requires reasons internalists to accept controversial (...)
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  31. Internal Reasons and the Boy Who Cried Wolf.Samuel Asarnow - 2019 - Ethics 130 (1):32-58.
    Reasons internalists claim that facts about normative reasons for action are facts about which actions would promote an agent’s goals and values. Reasons internalism is popular, even though paradigmatic versions have moral consequences many find unwelcome. This article reconstructs an influential but understudied argument for reasons internalism, the “if I were you” argument, which is due to Bernard Williams and Kate Manne. I raise an objection to the argument and argue that replying to it requires reasons internalists to accept controversial (...)
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  32. Probabilistic Promotion and Ability.Luke Elson - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    We often have some reason to do actions insofar as they promote outcomes or states of affairs, such as the satisfaction of a desire. But what is it to promote an outcome? I defend a new version of 'probabilism about promotion'. According to Minimal Probabilistic Promotion, we promote some outcome when we make that outcome more likely than it would have been if we had done something else. This makes promotion easy and reasons cheap.
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  33. The Value of Rationality. [REVIEW]Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2019 - Ethics 129 (3):501-508.
  34. Being More Realistic About Reasons: On Rationality and Reasons Perspectivism.Clayton Littlejohn - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):605-627.
    This paper looks at whether it is possible to unify the requirements of rationality with the demands of normative reasons. It might seem impossible to do because one depends upon the agent’s perspective and the other upon features of the situation. Enter Reasons Perspectivism. Reasons perspectivists think they can show that rationality does consist in responding correctly to reasons by placing epistemic constraints on these reasons. They think that if normative reasons are subject to the right epistemic constraints, rational requirements (...)
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  35. Normative Reasons as Reasons Why We Ought.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):459-484.
    I defend the view that a reason for someone to do something is just a reason why she ought to do it. This simple view has been thought incompatible with the existence of reasons to do things that we may refrain from doing or even ought not to do. For it is widely assumed that there are reasons why we ought to do something only if we ought to do it. I present several counterexamples to this principle and reject some (...)
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  36. Commitment and the Second-Person Standpoint.Janis Schaab - 2019 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 73 (4):511-532.
    On Chang's voluntarist account of commitments, when we commit to φ, we employ the 'normative powers' of our will to give ourselves a reason to φ that we would otherwise not have had. I argue that Chang's account, by itself, does not have sufficient conceptual resources to reconcile the normative significance of commitments with their alleged fundamentally volitional character. I suggest an alternative, second-personal account of commitment, which avoids this problem. On this account, the volitional act involved in committing is (...)
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  37. Kantian Constructivism : A Restatement.Janis David Schaab - 2019 - Dissertation, St. Andrews
    This thesis provides a restatement of Kantian constructivism, with the aim of avoiding some of the objections and clearing up some of the ambiguities that have haunted previous versions of the view. I restate Kantian constructivism as the view that morality’s normativity has its source in the form of second-personal reasoning, a mode of practical reasoning in which we engage when we address demands person-to-person. By advancing a position about the source of moral normativity, Kantian constructivism addresses a metaethical question, (...)
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  38. Racje wewnętrzne i zewnętrzne.Bernard Williams & Tomasz Żuradzki - 2019 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 67 (1):231-246.
    Artykuł, opublikowany po raz pierwszy w 1979 r., jest jednym z najczęściej cytowanych tekstów filozoficznych z drugiej połowy XX wieku. Tekst Bernarda Williamsa zainicjował kilka ważnych debat, toczących się do dziś w etyce i filozofii działania. Zaproponowana przez niego interpretacja pojęcia racji działania jest, z jednej strony, niezwykle wpływowa, ale z drugiej bardzo niejednoznaczna i często krytykowana. Williams broni stanowiska, które z czasem zaczęto określać jako internalizm racji: pewne względy są racjami działania dla danego podmiotu tylko wtedy, gdy mają ścisły (...)
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  39. A Combinatorial Argument Against Practical Reasons for Belief.Selim Berker - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (4):427-470.
    Are there practical reasons for and against belief? For example, do the practical benefits to oneself or others of holding a certain belief count in favor of that belief? I argue "No." My argument involves considering how practical reasons for belief, if there were such things, would combine with other reasons for belief in order to determine all-things-considered verdicts, especially in cases involving equally balanced reasons of either a practical or an epistemic sort.
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  40. Reasons, Evidence, and Explanations.John Brunero - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 321-341.
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  41. Are There Distinctively Moral Reasons?Andrew T. Forcehimes & Luke Semrau - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):699-717.
    A dogma of contemporary normative theorizing holds that some reasons are distinctively moral while others are not. Call this view Reasons Pluralism. This essay looks at four approaches to vindicating the apparent distinction between moral and non-moral reasons. In the end, however, all are found wanting. Though not dispositive, the failure of these approaches supplies strong evidence that the dogma of Reasons Pluralism is ill-founded.
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  42. From A Rational Point Of View.Tim Henning - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    When we discuss normative reasons, oughts, requirements of rationality, hypothetical imperatives (or “anankastic conditionals”), motivating reasons and so on, we often use verbs like “believe” and “want” to capture a relevant subject’s perspective. According to the received view about sentences involving these verbs, what they do is describe the subject’s mental states. Many puzzles concerning normative discourse have to do with the role that mental states consequently appear to play in this discourse. This book uses tools from formal semantics and (...)
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  43. Levinas and Analytic Philosophy: An Ethical Metaphysics of Reasons.Kevin Houser - 2018 - In Michael L. Morgan (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Levinas. pp. 587-614.
    Recent analytic philosophy often explains our responsibility to one another in terms of normative reasons. Emmanuel Levinas thinks this is backwards. We are not responsible to one another because we have reasons to be. For reasons are themselves something we are responsible to one another to have; and it is only because we are responsible to one another for them that we are able to have our own reasons. Put broadly: Reasons-responsiveness is a form of responsiveness to persons. Standard reasons-first (...)
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  44. Constitutivism About Practical Reasons.Paul Katsafanas - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 367-394.
    This paper introduces constitutivism about practical reason, which is the view that we can justify certain normative claims by showing that agents become committed to these claims simply in virtue of acting. According to this view, action has a certain structural feature – a constitutive aim, principle, or standard – that both constitutes events as actions and generates a standard of assessment for action. We can use this standard of assessment to derive normative claims. In short, the authority of certain (...)
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  45. Contrary-to-Duty Scenarios, Deontic Dilemmas, and Transmission Principles.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - Ethics 129 (1):98-115.
    Actualists hold that contrary-to-duty scenarios give rise to deontic dilemmas and provide counterexamples to the transmission principle, according to which we ought to take the necessary means to actions we ought to perform. In an earlier article, I have argued, contrary to actualism, that the notion of ‘ought’ that figures in conclusions of practical deliberation does not allow for deontic dilemmas and validates the transmission principle. Here I defend these claims, together with my possibilist account of contrary-to-duty scenarios, against Stephen (...)
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  46. How Reasons Are Sensitive to Available Evidence.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 90-114.
    In this paper, I develop a theory of how claims about an agent’s normative reasons are sensitive to the epistemic circumstances of this agent, which preserves the plausible ideas that reasons are facts and that reasons can be discovered in deliberation and disclosed in advice. I argue that a plausible theory of this kind must take into account the difference between synchronic and diachronic reasons, i.e. reasons for acting immediately and reasons for acting at some later point in time. I (...)
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  47. Subjective Unpossessed Reasons.Arturs Logins - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):262-270.
    A common assumption in contemporary debates about normative reasons is that ‘subjective’ and ‘possessed’ are two names for the same sort of reason. This paper challenges that assumption. Given our cognitive limitations, it is unsurprising that normative reasons that derive from what we know and reasons that we are in a position to use in our deliberation are not always one and the same.
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  48. The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Errol Lord offers a new account of the nature of rationality: what it is for one to be rational is to correctly respond to the normative reasons one possesses. Lord defends novel views about what it is to possess reasons and what it is to correctly respond to reasons, and dispels doubts about whether we ought to be rational.
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  49. Scope or Focus? Normative Focus and the Metaphysics of Normative Relations.Nicholas Shackel - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (6):281-312.
    A prolonged debate about the nature of norms has been conducted in terms of the scope of a modal operator. Here I argue that the features of what I call Normative Focus are more fundamental than scope. We shall see limitations of scope contrasted with better analysis in terms of Normative Focus. Some authors address such limitations by extending what they mean by scope. I show that scope is still not doing the work: what does it is their elicitation of (...)
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  50. Reasons for and Reasons Against.Justin Snedegar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):725-743.
    What an agent ought to do is determined by competition between reasons bearing on the options open to her. The popular metaphor of balancing or weighing reasons on a scale to represent this competition encourages a focus on competition between reasons for competing options. But what an agent ought to do also depends on the reasons against those options. The balancing metaphor does not provide an obvious way to represent reasons against. Partly as a result of this, there is a (...)
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