In the following paper I will examine the possibility for a rational foundation of morals, rational in the sense that to ground a moral statement on reason amounts to being able to convince an unmotivated agent to conform to a moral rule - that is to say, to “rationally motivate” him (as Habermas would have said) to act in ways for which he or she had no previous reason to act. We will scrutinize the “internalist’s” objection (in Williams’ definition) to such a claim and confront it with a, however, obvious fact: our need to convince or, at least, to influence agents to act according to moral judgements that entail strong validity claims. Therefore we need to find a better ground for our moral norms than that provided by a narrow concept of practical reason, which ultimately offers the basis for the internalist’s intuitions. Classical philosophers believed that to have a “right” sense meant also to think accordingly, that there was no intelligence without a social or moral side and that a person who lacked moral sense was not, at the same time, very intelligent. This contradicts some deep Humean intuitions, and in any case requires a more complex concept of practical reason than the one we normally encounter in internalist moral philosophers. In the following pages, I would like to reflect on this kind of social reason, or intelligence, or moral rationality, in an attempt to couple, in a coherent vision of moral sense within the framework of practical reason, intuitions that appear in Kant and Adam Smith with empirical research about what the lack of moral sense could mean.
Keywords Moral Reasoning  Moral Sense  Ethics  Rational Foundation for Morals  Lack of Moral Sense  Narcissism  Kant  Internalism-Externalism  Practical Reason
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Upload history
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On Three Defenses of Sentimentalism.Noriaki Iwasa - 2013 - Prolegomena 12 (1):61-82.
Ethical Externalism and the Moral Sense.Susan M. Purviance - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:585-600.
Moral Motivation.Kenneth Pahel - 1976 - Journal of Moral Education 5 (3):223-230.
Kant's Moral Philosophy.Robert N. Johnson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What’s Wrong with Morality?C. Daniel Batson - 2011 - Emotion Review 3 (3):230-236.
Moral Motivation Pluralism.Ragnar Francén - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (2):117-148.
Public Reason and the Moral Foundation of Liberalism.Jon Mahoney - 2004 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (3):311-331.
Intuition and Belief in Moral Motivation.Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - In Gunnar Björnsson (ed.), Moral Internalism. Oxford University Press.
Moral Desirability and Rational Decision.Christoph Lumer - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (5):561-584.
Does Fish Welfare Matter? On the Moral Relevance of Agency.Frederike Kaldewaij - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (1):63-74.


Added to PP index

Total views
251 ( #30,229 of 2,331,483 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #82,270 of 2,331,483 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes