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Can Desires Provide Reasons for Action?

In R. Jay Wallace, Philip Pettit, Samuel Scheffler & Michael Smith (eds.), Reason and Value: Themes From the Moral Philosophy of Joseph Raz. Oxford University Press. pp. 56--90 (2004)

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  1. Affective Experience, Desire, and Reasons for Action.Declan Smithies & Jeremy Weiss - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (1):27-54.
    What is the role of affective experience in explaining how our desires provide us with reasons for action? When we desire that p, we are thereby disposed to feel attracted to the prospect that p, or to feel averse to the prospect that not-p. In this paper, we argue that affective experiences – including feelings of attraction and aversion – provide us with reasons for action in virtue of their phenomenal character. Moreover, we argue that desires provide us with reasons (...)
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  • Which Desires Are Relevant to Well‐Being?Chris Heathwood - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The desire-satisfaction theory of well-being says, in its simplest form, that a person's level of welfare is determined by the extent to which their desires are satisfied. A question faced by anyone attracted to such a view is, Which desires? This paper proposes a new answer to this question by characterizing a distinction among desires that isn't much discussed in the well-being literature. This is the distinction between what a person wants in a merely behavioral sense, in that the person (...)
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  • Second-Order Preferences and Instrumental Rationality.Donald W. Bruckner - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (4):367-385.
    A second-order preference is a preference over preferences. This paper addresses the role that second-order preferences play in a theory of instrumental rationality. I argue that second-order preferences have no role to play in the prescription or evaluation of actions aimed at ordinary ends. Instead, second-order preferences are relevant to prescribing or evaluating actions only insofar as those actions have a role in changing or maintaining first-order preferences. I establish these claims by examining and rejecting the view that second-order preferences (...)
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  • Against Second‐Order Reasons.Daniel Whiting - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):398-420.
    A normative reason for a person to? is a consideration which favours?ing. A motivating reason is a reason for which or on the basis of which a person?s. This paper explores a connection between normative and motivating reasons. More specifically, it explores the idea that there are second-order normative reasons to? for or on the basis of certain first-order normative reasons. In this paper, I challenge the view that there are second-order reasons so understood. I then show that prominent views (...)
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  • Imperfect Reasons and Rational Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2012 - Noûs 46 (1):24 - 60.
    Agents often face a choice of what to do. And it seems that, in most of these choice situations, the relevant reasons do not require performing some particular act, but instead permit performing any of numerous act alternatives. This is known as the basic belief. Below, I argue that the best explanation for the basic belief is not that the relevant reasons are incommensurable (Raz) or that their justifying strength exceeds the requiring strength of opposing reasons (Gert), but that they (...)
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  • Pure Time Preference.Rosemary Lowry & Martin Peterson - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4):490-508.
    Pure time preference is a preference for something to come at one point in time rather than another merely because of when it occurs in time. In opposition to Sidgwick, Ramsey, Rawls, and Parfit we argue that it is not always irrational to be guided by pure time preferences. We argue that even if the mere difference of location in time is not a rational ground for a preference, time may nevertheless be a normatively neutral ground for a preference, and (...)
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  • Against Strong Cognitivism: An Argument From the Particularity of Love.Hilla Jacobson - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):563-596.
    According to the view we may term “strong cognitivism”, all reasons for action are rooted in normative features that the motivated subject takes objects to have independently of her attitudes towards these objects. The main concern of this paper is to argue against strong cognitivism, that is, to establish the view that conative attitudes do provide subjects with reasons for action. The central argument to this effect is a top-down argument: it proceeds by an analysis of the complex phenomenon of (...)
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  • Agency Regarding Our Reasons.Patrick Fleming - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-22.
    ABSTRACTHow much control do we have over our reasons for action? Not much, but some. We all have reasons to avoid pain and not to inflict it on others. What explains our shared reasons? On an externalist account, reasons are grounded in values. All reasons are external to agency. This ensures that reasons are universal, so it is an attractive feature of moral and prudential reasons. However, when our reasons differ this is less attractive. In some cases, it seems like (...)
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  • Objective Reasons.Michael Pendlebury - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):533-563.
    In order to establish that judgments about practical reasons can be objective, it is necessary to show that the applicable standards provide an adequate account of truth and error. This in turn requires that these standards yield an extensive set of substantive, publicly accessible judgments that are presumptively true. This output requirement is not satisfied by the standards of universalizability, consistency, coherence, and caution alone. But it is satisfied if we supplement them with the principle that desire is a source (...)
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  • The Desires of Others.Berislav Marušić - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):385-400.
    An influential view, defended by Thomas Scanlon and others, holds that desires are almost never reasons. I seek to resist this view and show that someone who desires something does thereby have a reason to satisfy her desire. To show this, I argue, first, that the desires of some others are reasons for us and, second, that our own desires are no less reason-giving than those of others. In concluding, I emphasize that accepting my view does not commit one to (...)
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