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Ethics Without Principles

Oxford University Press (2004)

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  1. Immanent Critique and Particular Moral Experience.Titus Stahl - 2017 - Critical Horizons.
    Critical theories often express scepticism towards the idea that social critique should draw on general normative principles, seeing such principles as bound to dominant conceptual frameworks. However, even the models of immanent critique developed in the Frankfurt School tradition seem to privilege principles over particular moral experiences. Discussing the place that particular moral experience has in the models of Honneth, Ferrara and Adorno, the article argues that experience can play an important negative role even for a critical theory that is (...)
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  • Holism About Value: Some Help for Invariabilists.Daniel Halliday - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1033-1046.
    G.E. Moore’s principle of organic unity holds that the intrinsic value of a whole may differ from the sum of the intrinsic values of its parts. Moore combined this principle with invariabilism about intrinsic value: An item’s intrinsic value depends solely on its bearer’s intrinsic properties, not on which wholes it has membership of. It is often said that invariabilism ought to be rejected in favour of what might be called ‘conditionalism’ about intrinsic value. This paper is an attempt to (...)
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  • Laws and Their Instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
    I present an argument for the view that laws ground their instances. I then outline two important consequences that follow if we accept the conclusion of this argument. First, the claim that laws ground their instances threatens to undermine a prominent recent attempt to make sense of the explanatory power of Humean laws by distinguishing between metaphysical and scientific explanation. And second, the claim that laws ground their instances gives rise to a novel argument against the view that grounding relations (...)
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  • Humanity, Virtue, Justice: A Framework for a Capability Approach.Benjamin James Bessey - unknown
    This Thesis reconsiders the prospects for an approach to global justice centring on the proposal that every human being should possess a certain bundle of goods, which would include certain members of a distinctive category: the category of capabilities. My overall aim is to present a clarified and well-developed framework, within which such claims can be made. To do this, I visit a number of regions of normative and metanormative theorising. I begin by introducing the motivations for the capability approach, (...)
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  • Moral Discourse: Categorical or Institutional?Calvin H. Warner - unknown
    Error theory turns on a particular presupposition about the conceptual commitments of moral realism, namely that the moral facts posited by realists need to be categorical. True moral propositions are said to have an absolute authority in their prescriptions in the sense that an agent, regardless of her own ends, needs or desires, is categorically obligated and has reason to act in accordance with their prescriptions. But, nothing in the world has such a queer property as categoricity, and therefore we (...)
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  • 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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  • Particularly General and Generally Particular: Language, Rules and Meaning.Daniel Whiting - 2010 - Logique Et Analyse 53 (209):77-90.
    Semantic generalists and semantic particularists disagree over the role of rules or principles in linguistic competence and in the determination of linguistic meaning, and hence over the importance of the notions of a rule or of a principle in philosophical accounts of language. In this paper, I have argued that the particularist’s case against generalism is far from decisive and that by moderating the claims she makes on behalf of her thesis the generalist can accommodate many of the considerations that (...)
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  • Normative Appeals to the Natural.Pekka Väyrynen - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):279 - 314.
    Surprisingly, many ethical realists and anti-realists, naturalists and not, all accept some version of the following normative appeal to the natural (NAN): evaluative and normative facts hold solely in virtue of natural facts, where their naturalness is part of what fits them for the job. This paper argues not that NAN is false but that NAN has no adequate non-parochial justification (a justification that relies only on premises which can be accepted by more or less everyone who accepts NAN) to (...)
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  • Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2).
    Many philosophers have been attracted to the view that reasons are premises of good reasoning – that reasons to φ are premises of good reasoning towards φ-ing. However, while this reasoning view is indeed attractive, it faces a problem accommodating outweighed reasons. In this article, I argue that the standard solution to this problem is unsuccessful and propose an alternative, which draws on the idea that good patterns of reasoning can be defeasible. I conclude by drawing out implications for the (...)
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  • Inference and Action: Relating Beliefs to the World.Javier Gonzalez De Prado Salas - unknown
    The goal of this dissertation is to offer a practice-based account of intentionality. My aim is to examine what sort of practices agents have to engage in so as to count as talking and thinking about the way the world is – that is, what sort of practices count as representational. Representational practices answer to the way the world is: what is correct within such practices depends on the way things are, rather than on the attitudes of agents. An account (...)
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  • Defending Semantic Generalism.Daniel Whiting - 2007 - Analysis 67 (4):303–311.
    ‘Particularism’ is a meta-ethical theory resulting from a holistic doctrine in the theory of reasons. According to Jonathan Dancy, the foremost contemporary proponent of particularism, ‘a feature that is a reason in favour of an action in one case may be no reason at all in another, or even a reason against’ (2004: 190). From this, Dancy claims, it follows that the ‘possibility of moral thought and judgement does not depend on the provision of a suitable supply of moral principles’ (...)
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  • Fitting Belief.Conor McHugh - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (2pt2):167-187.
    Beliefs can be correct or incorrect, and this standard of correctness is widely thought to be fundamental to epistemic normativity. But how should this standard be understood, and in what way is it so fundamental? I argue that we should resist understanding correctness for belief as either a prescriptive or an evaluative norm. Rather, we should understand it as an instance of the distinct normative category of fittingness for attitudes. This yields an attractive account of epistemic reasons.
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  • Explaining the Instrumental Principle.Jonathan Way - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):487-506.
    The Wide-Scope view of instrumental reason holds that you should not intend an end without also intending what you believe to be the necessary means. This, the Wide-Scoper claims, provides the best account of why failing to intend the believed means to your end is a rational failing. But Wide-Scopers have struggled to meet a simple Explanatory Challenge: why shouldn't you intend an end without intending the necessary means? What reason is there not to do so? In the first half (...)
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  • A Matter of Principle. [REVIEW]Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):568 - 580.
    This is an early draft of a joint critical notice I am writing of Jonathan Dancy’s Ethics Without Principles and Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge’s Principled Ethics, for Noûs.
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  • Holism, Weight, and Undercutting.Mark Schroeder - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):328 - 344.
    Particularists in ethics emphasize that the normative is holistic, and invite us to infer with them that it therefore defies generalization. This has been supposed to present an obstacle to traditional moral theorizing, to have striking implications for moral epistemology and moral deliberation, and to rule out reductive theories of the normative, making it a bold and important thesis across the areas of normative theory, moral epistemology, moral psychology, and normative metaphysics. Though particularists emphasize the importance of the holism of (...)
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  • Buck-Passers' Negative Thesis.Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (3):341-347.
    Buck-passers about value accept two theses about value, a negative thesis and a positive. The negative thesis is that the fact that something is valuable is not itself a reason to promote or appreciate it. The positive thesis is that the fact that something is valuable consists in the fact that there are other reasons to promote or appreciate it. Buck-passers suppose that the negative thesis follows from the positive one, and sometimes insist on it as if it is the (...)
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  • Realism and Reduction: The Quest for Robustness.Mark Schroeder - 2005 - Philosophers' Imprint 5:1-18.
    It doesn’t seem possible to be a realist about the traditional Christian God while claiming to be able to reduce God talk in naturalistically acceptable terms. Reduction, in this case, seems obviously eliminativist. Many philosophers seem to think that the same is true of the normative—that reductive “realists” about the normative are not really realists about the normative at all, or at least, only in some attenuated sense. This paper takes on the challenge of articulating what it is that makes (...)
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  • Two Accounts of the Normativity of Rationality.Jonathan Way - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (1):1-9.
    Recent views of reasons and rationality make it plausible that it can sometimes be rational to do what you have no reason to do. A number of writers have concluded that if this is so, rationality is not normative. But this is a mistake. Even if we assume a tight connection between reasons and normativity, the normativity of rationality does not require that there is always reason to be rational. The first half of this paper illustrates this point with reference (...)
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  • Pedro's Significance.Christopher Woodard - 2009 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):301-319.
    Williams’s famous story of Jim exemplifies a general class of dilemmas caused by recalcitrant agents. Like Williams himself, most commentators have focused on Jim and the idea that he has special responsibility for his actions. This paper shifts attention to Pedro, exploring his significance in the story and arguing that Jim has a reason not to shoot that depends on Pedro’s best possible response. In so doing, it sketches a new approach to the general class of dilemmas posed by recalcitrant (...)
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  • What is Good Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:153-174.
    What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of (...)
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  • Weighing Reasons, Edited by Errol Lord and Barry Maguire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, Xi + 301pp. ISBN: 9780199315192, Hb £34.99a. [REVIEW]Jonathan Way - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3):895-898.
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  • Adventure, Climbing Excellence and the Practice of 'Bolting'.Philip Ebert & Simon Robertson - 2007 - In M. J. McNamee (ed.), Philosophy, Risk and Adventure Sports. London ;Routledge. pp. 56.
    forthcoming in M. McNamee (ed) Philosophy, Risk and Adventure Sports, Routledge The final draft of a co-authored article with Simon Robertson (Leeds). In this paper we examine a recent version of an old controversy within climbing ethics. Our organising topic is the ‘bolting’….
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  • How Meaning Might Be Normative.Alan Millar - unknown
    The aim is (i) to outline an account what it is to grasp the meaning of a predicative term, and (ii) to draw on that account in an attempt to shed light on what the normativity of meaning might amount to. Central to the account is that grasping the meaning of a predicative term is a practical matter—it is knowing how to use it correctly in a way that implicates having an ability to use it correctly. This calls for an (...)
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  • Moral Realism and Anti-Realism Outside the West: A Meta-Ethical Turn in Buddhist Ethics.Gordon Fraser Davis - 2013 - Comparative Philosophy 4 (2).
    In recent years, discussions of Buddhist ethics have increasingly drawn upon the concepts and tools of modern ethical theory, not only to compare Buddhist perspectives with Western moral theories, but also to assess the meta-ethical implications of Buddhist texts and their philosophical context. Philosophers aiming to defend the Madhyamaka framework in particular – its ethics and soteriology along with its logic and epistemology – have recently attempted to explain its combination of moral commitment and philosophical scepticism by appealing to various (...)
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  • Reason and Desire: The Case of Affective Desires.Attila Tanyi - 2010 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (2):67-89.
    The paper begins with an objection to the Desire-Based Reasons Model. The argument from reason-based desires holds that since desires are based on reasons (first premise), which they transmit but to which they cannot add (second premise), they cannot themselves provide reasons for action. In the paper I investigate an attack that has recently been launched against the first premise of this argument by Ruth Chang. Chang invokes a counterexample: affective desires. The aim of the paper is to see if (...)
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  • Particular Reasons.Selim Berker - 2007 - Ethics 118 (1):109-139.
    Moral particularists argue that because reasons for action are irreducibly context-dependent, the traditional quest in ethics for true and exceptionless moral principles is hopelessly misguided. In making this claim, particularists assume a general framework according to which reasons are the ground floor normative units undergirding all other normative properties and relations. They then argue that there is no cashing out in finite terms either (i) when a given non-normative feature gives rise to a reason for or against action, or (ii) (...)
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  • Fallibility and Normativity.DiPaolo Joshua - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
    We are fallible, and knowledge of our fallibility has normative implications. But these normative implications appear to conflict with other compelling epistemic norms. We therefore appear to face a choice: reject fallibility-based norms or reject these other epistemic norms. I argue that there is a plausible third option: reconcile these two sets of norms. Once we properly understand the nature of each of these norms, we aren’t forced to reject either.
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  • Bentham on Presumed Offences.Frederick Schauer - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (4):363-379.
    In the Principles of the Penal Code, Jeremy Bentham described offences that he labelled presumed or evidentiary. The conduct penalized under such offences is punished not because it is intrinsically wrong, but because it probabilistically indicates the presence of an intrinsic wrong. Bentham was sceptical of the need to create offences, but grudgingly accepted their value in light of deficiencies in procedure and the judiciary. These days the scepticism is even greater, with courts and commentators in the United States, Canada, (...)
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  • Die Relevanz idealer Theorie bei der Beurteilung praktischer Probleme.Jürgen Sirsch - 2012 - Zeitschrift Für Politische Theorie 3 (1).
    The paper discusses the adequate role of ideal theory for the discussion of practical problems. Therefore, I will reconstruct the Rawlsian understanding of the ideal-theoretical method and confront it with the critiques of Raymond Geuss and Amartya Sen. While Geuss is sceptical, whether ideal theory provides an appropriately critical perspective, Sen doubts the practical usefulness of ideal-theoretical models. It will be shown, that Rawlsian ideal theory can deal with these criticisms and that it is a useful tool for solving practical (...)
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  • Towards a More Particularist View of Rights’ Stringency.Benedict Rumbold - 2019 - Res Publica 25 (2):211-233.
    For all their various disagreements, one point upon which rights theorists often agree is that it is simply part of the nature of rights that they tend to override, outweigh or exclude competing considerations in moral reasoning, that they have ‘peremptory force’, making ‘powerful demands’ that can only be overridden in ‘exceptional circumstances’, Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016, p. 240). In this article I challenge this thought. My aim here is not to prove that the (...)
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  • The Expansion View of Thick Concepts.Brent G. Kyle - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper proposes a new Separabilist account of thick concepts, called the Expansion View (or EV). According to EV, thick concepts are expanded contents of thin terms. An expanded content is, roughly, the semantic content of a predicate along with modifiers. Although EV is a form of Separabilism, it is distinct from the only kind of Separabilism discussed in the literature, and it has many features that Inseparabilists want from an account of thick concepts. EV can also give non-cognitivists a (...)
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  • The Morals of Model-Making.Susan G. Sterrett - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:31-45.
    I address questions about values in model-making in engineering, specifically: Might the role of values be attributable solely to interests involved in specifying and using the model? Selected examples illustrate the surprisingly wide variety of things one must take into account in the model-making itself. The notions of system , and physically similar systems are important and powerful in determining what is relevant to an engineering model. Another example illustrates how an idea to completely re-characterize, or reframe, an engineering problem (...)
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  • The Intellectual Given.John Bengson - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):707-760.
    Intuition is sometimes derided as an abstruse or esoteric phenomenon akin to crystal-ball gazing. Such derision appears to be fuelled primarily by the suggestion, evidently endorsed by traditional rationalists such as Plato and Descartes, that intuition is a kind of direct, immediate apprehension akin to perception. This paper suggests that although the perceptual analogy has often been dismissed as encouraging a theoretically useless metaphor, a quasi-perceptualist view of intuition may enable rationalists to begin to meet the challenge of supplying a (...)
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  • Grounding: Necessary or Contingent?Kelly Trogdon - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):465-485.
    Recent interest in the nature of grounding is due in part to the idea that purely modal notions are too coarse‐grained to capture what we have in mind when we say that one thing is grounded in another. Grounding not being purely modal in character, however, is compatible with it having modal consequences. Is grounding a necessary relation? In this article I argue that the answer is ‘yes’ in the sense that propositions corresponding to full grounds modally entail propositions corresponding (...)
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  • Defeaters and Disqualifiers.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Mind:fzy043.
    Justification depends on context: even if E on its own justifies H, still it might fail to justify in the context of D. This sort of effect, epistemologists think, is due to the possibility of defeaters, which undermine or rebut a would-be justifier. I argue that there is another fundamental sort of contextual effect, disqualification, which doesn't involve rebuttal or undercutting, and which cannot be reduced to any notion of screening-off. A disqualifier makes some would-be justifier otiose, as direct testimony (...)
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  • Reasons Have No Weight.Dalia Drai - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):60-76.
    Practical reasoning is often described as weighing reasons. When one deliberates about what to do one puts all the reasons for the action on one side and all the reasons against the action on the other side. The balance between both sides determines the outcome of the deliberation. Assuming that this description is correct, the next question is how the different reasons for and against the action determine the outcome of the deliberation. This is the place where the notion of (...)
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  • II—Moral Dependence and Natural Properties.Nick Zangwill - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):221-243.
    I explore the Because Constraint—the idea that moral facts depend on natural facts and that moral judgements ought to respect the dependence of moral facts on natural facts. I consider several issues concerning its clarification and importance.
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  • Dispossessing Defeat.Javier González de Prado - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  • Essentially Comparative Value Does Not Threaten Transitivity.Toby Handfield - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):3-12.
    The essentially comparative conception of value entails that the value of a state of affairs does not depend solely upon features intrinsic to the state of affairs, but also upon extrinsic features, such as the set of feasible alternatives. It has been argued that this conception of value gives us reason to abandon the transitivity of the better than relation. This paper shows that the support for intransitivity derived from this conception of value is very limited. On its most plausible (...)
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  • Particularism in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):121-147.
    In this essay I offer a new particularist reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I argue that the interpretation I present not only helps us to resolve some puzzles about Aristotle’s goals and methods, but it also gives rise to a novel account of morality—an account that is both interesting and plausible in its own right. The goal of this paper is, in part, exegetical—that is, to figure out how to best understand the text of the Nicomachean Ethics. But this paper (...)
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  • Value Taxonomy.Wlodek Rabinowicz & Toni Ronnow-Rasmussen - 2015 - In Tobias Brosch & David Sander (eds.), Handbook of Value. Oxford: Oxfocd University Press. pp. 23-42.
    The paper presents main conceptual distinctions underlying much of modern philosophical thinking about value. The introductory Section 1 is followed in Section 2 by an outline of the contrast between non-relational value and relational value. In Section 3, the focus is on the distinction between final and non-final value as well as on different kinds of final value. In Section 4, we consider value relations, such as being better/worse/equally good/on a par. Recent discussions suggest that we might need to considerably (...)
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  • Reasons and Impossibility.Bart Streumer - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):351-384.
    Many philosophers claim that it cannot be the case that a person ought to perform an action if this person cannot perform this action. However, most of these philosophers do not give arguments for the truth of this claim. In this paper, I argue that it is plausible to interpret this claim in such a way that it is entailed by the claim that there cannot be a reason for a person to perform an action if it is impossible that (...)
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  • Why There Really Are No Irreducibly Normative Properties.Bart Streumer - 2013 - In David Bakhurst, Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Thinking about Reasons: Themes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy. Oxford University Press. pp. 310-336.
    Jonathan Dancy thinks that there are irreducibly normative properties. Frank Jackson has given a well-known argument against this view, and I have elsewhere defended this argument against many objections, including one made by Dancy. But Dancy remains unconvinced. In this chapter, I hope to convince him.
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  • Practical Reasoning.Bart Streumer - 2010 - In Timothy O'Connor & Constantine Sandis (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action. Wiley-Blackwell.
    To be able to say what practical reasoning is, we first need to say what reasoning is and what the conclusion of a process of reasoning is. I shall do this in sections 1 and 2. We can then make a distinction between practical and theoretical reasoning. There are three main ways to do this, which I shall survey in sections 3 to 5. I shall end by suggesting that there are different kinds of practical reasoning.
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  • Are Normative Properties Descriptive Properties?Bart Streumer - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (3):325 - 348.
    Some philosophers think that normative properties are identical to descriptive properties. In this paper, I argue that this entails that it is possible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I argue that Frank Jackson's argument to show that this is possible fails, and that the objections to this argument show that it is impossible to say which descriptive properties normative properties are identical to. I conclude that normative properties are not identical to descriptive properties. I then (...)
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  • Acting on a Ground : Reasons, Rational Motivation, and Explanation.Magnus Frei - 2016 - Dissertation, Fribourg
    When someone does something for a reason, what are the reasons for which she does what she does? What is her ‘motivating reason’, as it is sometimes put? The simple answer is: it depends on what is meant by ‘motivating reason’. Non-Psychologists hold that motivating reasons are what the agent believes. I have shown that given that we understand ‘motivating reasons’ as what I term 'grounds', this is quite correct, as what we believe is what plays the role of a (...)
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  • Mahdollisuus.Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.) - 2016 - Helsinki: Philosophical Society of Finland.
    Proceedings of the 2016 "one word" colloquium of the The Philosophical Society of Finland. The word was "Possibility".
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  • Reasons, Relevance and Salience: A Response to Hookway.Jonathan Dancy - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):71-79.
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  • Moral Hybrids, Moral Relevance and Moral Particularism.Mark Vorobej - 2012 - Informal Logic 32 (3):306-312.
    Some of Jonathan Dancy's strongest arguments in support of moral particularism depend crucially upon the distinction he draws between three different kinds of relevance relations -- favourers, intensifiers and enablers. In this paper I generalize certain features of Dancy's account of the different roles that premises can play in moral argumentation. Most significantly, I argue that both intensifiers and enablers play parallel roles within different kinds of (more primitive) supplementation relations. This matters since it is common for people to accept (...)
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  • Normative Reference Magnets.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (1):41-71.
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