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Brute Rationality: Normativity and Human Action

Cambridge University Press (2004)

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  1. Minds and Morals.Sarah Sawyer - 2014 - Philosophical Issues 24 (1):393-408.
    In this paper, I argue that an externalist theory of thought content provides the means to resolve two debates in moral philosophy. The first—that between judgement internalism and judgement externalism—concerns the question of whether there is a conceptual connection between moral judgement and motivation. The second—that between reasons internalism and reasons externalism—concerns the relationship between moral reasons and an agent's subjective motivational set. The resolutions essentially stem from the externalist claim that concepts can be grasped partially, and a new moral (...)
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  • Value Relations.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2008 - Theoria 74 (1):18-49.
    Abstract: The paper provides a general account of value relations. It takes its departure in a special type of value relation, parity, which according to Ruth Chang is a form of evaluative comparability that differs from the three standard forms of comparability: betterness, worseness and equal goodness. Recently, Joshua Gert has suggested that the notion of parity can be accounted for if value comparisons are interpreted as normative assessments of preference. While Gert's basic idea is attractive, the way he develops (...)
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  • Are Moral Reasons Morally Overriding?Douglas W. Portmore - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4):369-388.
    In this paper, I argue that those moral theorists who wish to accommodate agent-centered options and supererogatory acts must accept both that the reason an agent has to promote her own interests is a nonmoral reason and that this nonmoral reason can prevent the moral reason she has to sacrifice those interests for the sake of doing more to promote the interests of others from generating a moral requirement to do so. These theorists must, then, deny that moral reasons morally (...)
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  • Lenman on Externalism and Amoralism: An Interplanetary Exploration.Joshua Gert & Alfred Mele - 2005 - Philosophia 32 (1-4):275-283.
  • Replies to Stephen Darwall, Richard Miller, David Cummiskey and Joshua Gert.James P. Sterba - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (3):299-323.
    IStephen Darwall is one of the few contemporary philosophers who, like myself, claims to have provided a conclusive argument in favor of morality over egoism. As a result, Darwall’s essay on my book,See this issue of The Journal of Ethics.From Rationality to Equality, provides me with the marvelous opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our different approaches to providing just such a defense of morality, an opportunity for which I am very grateful.Darwall begins with a fairly accurate summary (...)
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  • Why Reasons Skepticism is Not Self‐Defeating.Stan Husi - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (3):424-449.
    : Radical meta-normative skepticism is the view that no standard, norm, or principle has objective authority or normative force. It does not deny that there are norms, standards of correctness, and principles of various kinds that render it possible that we succeed or fail in measuring up to their prerogatives. Rather, it denies that any norm has the status of commanding with objective authority, of giving rise to normative reasons to take seriously and follow its demands. Two powerful transcendental arguments (...)
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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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  • Dual-Ranking Act-Consequentialism.Douglas W. Portmore - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):409 - 427.
    Dual-ranking act-consequentialism (DRAC) is a rather peculiar version of act-consequentialism. Unlike more traditional forms of act-consequentialism, DRAC doesn’t take the deontic status of an action to be a function of some evaluative ranking of outcomes. Rather, it takes the deontic status of an action to be a function of some non-evaluative ranking that is in turn a function of two auxiliary rankings that are evaluative. I argue that DRAC is promising in that it can accommodate certain features of commonsense morality (...)
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  • Parity, Preference and Puzzlement.Joshua Gert - 2015 - Theoria 81 (3):249-271.
    Ruth Chang has argued for the existence of a fourth positive value relation, distinct from betterness, worseness and equality, which she calls “parity.” In an earlier article I seemed to criticize Chang's suggestion by offering an interval model for the values of items that I claimed could accommodate all the phenomena characteristic of parity. Wlodek Rabinowicz, offering his own model of value relations, endorsed one central feature of my proposal: the need to distinguish permissible preferences from required ones. But he, (...)
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  • Toward an Epistemology of Certain Substantive a Priori Truths.Joshua Gert - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (2):214-236.
    Abstract: This article explains and motivates an account of one way in which we might have substantive a priori knowledge in one important class of domains: domains in which the central concepts are response-dependent. The central example will be our knowledge of the connection between something's being harmful and the fact that it is irrational for us to fail to be averse to that thing. The idea is that although the relevant responses (basic aversion in the case of harm, and (...)
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  • Rationalist Restrictions and External Reasons.Matthew S. Bedke - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):39 - 57.
    Historically, the most persuasive argument against external reasons proceeds through a rationalist restriction: For all agents A, and all actions Φ, there is a reason for A to Φ only if Φing is rationally accessible from A's actual motivational states. Here I distinguish conceptions of rationality, show which one the internalist must rely on to argue against external reasons, and argue that a rationalist restriction that features that conception of rationality is extremely implausible. Other conceptions of rationality can render the (...)
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  • Desires as Additional Reasons? The Case of Tie-Breaking.Attila Tanyi - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):209-227.
    According to the Desire-Based Reasons Model reasons for action are provided by desires. Many, however, are critical about the Model holding an alternative view of practical reason, which is often called valued-based. In this paper I consider one particular attempt to refute the Model, which advocates of the valued-based view often appeal to: the idea of reason-based desires. The argument is built up from two premises. The first claims that desires are states that we have reason to have. The second (...)
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  • Amorality.Dale Dorsey - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):329-342.
    Actions are usually grouped into one of several moral categories. Familiar ones include the morally required, the morally permitted, and the morally prohibited. These categories have been expanded and/or refined to include the supererogatory and the “suberogatory”. Some eschew deontic categories such as the above, but nevertheless allow the existence of two comparative moral categories, i.e., the morally better or morally worse. At the risk of adding to the clutter, I want to explore the possibility of yet a further category, (...)
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  • Stick to the Facts: On the Norms of Assertion.Daniel Whiting - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (4):847-867.
    The view that truth is the norm of assertion has fallen out of fashion. The recent trend has been to think that knowledge is the norm of assertion. Objections to the knowledge view proceed almost exclusively by appeal to alleged counterexamples. While it no doubt has a role to play, such a strategy relies on intuitions concerning hypothetical cases, intuitions which might not be shared and which might shift depending on how the relevant cases are fleshed out. In this paper, (...)
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  • Putting Particularism in its Place.Joshua Gert - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):312-324.
    Abstract: The point of this paper is to undermine the support that particularism in the domain of epistemic reasons might seem to give to particularism in the domain of practical reasons. In the epistemic domain, there are two related notions: truth and the rationality of belief. Epistemic reasons are related to the rationality of belief, and not directly to truth. In the domain of practical reasons, however, the role of truth is taken by the notion of objective rationality. Practical reasons (...)
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  • Reasons for Action and Psychological Capacities.Rosemary Lowry - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (4):521 - 531.
    Most moral philosophers agree that if a moral agent is incapable of performing some act ϕ because of a physical incapacity, then they do not have a reason to ϕ. Most also claim that if an agent is incapable of ϕ-ing due to a psychological incapacity, brought about by, for example, an obsession or phobia, then this does not preclude them from having a reason to ϕ. This is because the 'ought implies can' principle is usually interpreted as a claim (...)
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  • Two Concepts of Rationality.Joshua Gert - 2003 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):367-398.
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  • Begging the Question: A Qualified Defense.Joshua Gert - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (3):279-297.
    This discussion examines two of the central notions at work in Sterba’s From Rationality to Equality: question-beggingness, and the notion of a rational requirement. I point out that, against certain unreasonable positions, begging the question is a perfectly reasonable option. I also argue that if we use the sense of “rational requirement” that philosophers ought to have in mind when defending the idea that morality is rationally required, then Sterba has not succeed in defending this idea. Rather, he has at (...)
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  • Internalism and Hyperexternalism About Reasons.Joshua Gert - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (1):15-34.
    Alan Goldman’s Reasons from Within is one of the most thorough recent defenses of what might be called ‘orthodox internalism’ about practical reasons. Goldman’s main target is an opposing view that includes a commitment to the following two theses: (O) that there are such things as objective values, and (E) that these values give rise to external reasons. One version of this view, which we can call ‘orthodox externalism’, also includes a commitment to the thesis (I) that rational people will (...)
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  • Reasons and Requirements.Benjamin Sachs - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (1):73-83.
    In this essay I defend the claim that all reasons can ground final requirements. I begin by establishing a prima facie case for the thesis by noting that on a common-sense understanding of what finality is, it must be the case that all reasons can ground such requirements. I spend the rest of the paper defending the thesis against two recent challenges. The first challenge is found in Joshua Gert’s recent book, Brute Rationality. In it he argues that reasons play (...)
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  • Gert on Subjective Practical Rationality.Christian Miller - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):551-561.
    The purpose of this paper is to consider Joshua Gert’s novel view of subjective practical rationality in his book Brute Rationality. After briefly outlining the account, I present two objections to his view and then consider his own objections to a rival approach to understanding subjective rationality which I take to be much more plausible.
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  • Reasons, Rational Requirements, and the Putative Pseudo-Question “Why Be Moral?”.John J. Tilley - 2008 - Synthese 161 (2):309 - 323.
    In this paper, I challenge a familiar argument -- a composite of arguments in the literature -- for the view that “Why be moral?” is a pseudo-question. I do so by refuting a component of that argument, a component that is not only crucial to the argument but important in its own right. That component concerns the status of moral reasons in replies to “Why be moral?”; consequently, this paper concerns reasons and rationality no less than it concerns morality. The (...)
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