Explaining Normative Reasons

Noûs 57 (1):51-80 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper, we present and defend a natural yet novel analysis of normative reasons. According to what we call support-explanationism, for a fact to be a normative reason to φ is for it to explain why there's normative support for φ-ing. We critically consider the two main rival forms of explanationism—ought-explanationism, on which reasons explain facts about ought, and good-explanationism, on which reasons explain facts about goodness—as well as the popular Reasons-First view, which takes the notion of a normative reason to be normatively fundamental. Support-explanationism, we argue, enjoys many of the virtues of these views while avoiding their drawbacks. We conclude by exploring several further important implications: among other things, we argue that the influential metaphor of ‘weighing’ reasons is inapt, and propose a better one; that, contrary to what Berker (2019) suggests, there's no reason for non-naturalists about normativity to accept the Reasons-First view; and that, contrary to what Wodak (2020b) suggests, explanationist views can successfully accommodate what he calls ‘redundant reasons’.

Similar books and articles

Reasons, Reason, and Context.Daniel Fogal - 2016 - In Errol Lord & Barry Maguire (eds.), Weighing Reasons. Oup Usa.
Acting and Believing Under the Guise of Normative Reasons.Keshav Singh - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):409-430.
Explaining Reasons.Stephen Finlay - 2012 - Deutsches Jahrbuch Fuer Philosophie 4:112-126.
Subjective Unpossessed Reasons.Artūrs Logins - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):262-270.
Primary Reasons as Normative Reasons.Nathan Howard - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (2):97-111.
Sources, reasons, and requirements.Bruno Guindon - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1253-1268.
A “Good” Explanation of Five Puzzles about Reasons.Stephen Finlay - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):62-104.
Epistemic Reasons I: Normativity.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (7):364-376.
Do We Have Normative Powers?Ruth Chang - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):275-300.
Converging on values.Donald C. Hubin - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):355–361.
Normative reasons as good bases.Alex Gregory - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2291-2310.
Normative requirements.John Broome - 1999 - Ratio 12 (4):398–419.
Why realists must reject normative quietism.Daniel Wodak - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2795-2817.


Added to PP

891 (#15,442)

6 months
215 (#11,187)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Daniel Fogal
New York University
Olle Risberg
Uppsala University

Citations of this work

Knowledge and Action: What Depends on What?Itamar Weinshtock Saadon - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Epistemology.
Factivism Defended: A Reply to Howard.J. J. Cunningham - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
Précis of The Range of Reasons.Daniel Whiting - 2023 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):1-7.
The Weight of Reasons: A Framework for Ethics.Chris Tucker - forthcoming - New York: Oxford University Press.

Add more citations

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome (ed.) - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Reasons First.Mark Schroeder - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
Ethics without principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.

View all 80 references / Add more references