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)
Authors
Ruth Chang
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
What sorts of consideration can be normative reasons for action? If we systematize the wide variety of considerations that can be cited as normative reasons, do we find that there is a single kind of consideration that can always be a reason? Desire-based theorists think that the fact that you want something or would want it under certain evaluatively neutral conditions can always be your normative reason for action. Value-based theorists, by contrast, think that what plays that role are evaluative facts (or the facts that subvene them) about what you want, such as the fact that having it would be good in some way. This paper argues that value-based theorists are wrong; if we try to find a single kind of consideration that can always be normative reason, we find that sometimes our reason is the fact that we want something and not any corresponding evaluative fact.
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