In Errol Lord & Barry Maguire (eds.), Weighing Reasons. Oxford University Press (2016)

Authors
Daniel Fogal
New York University
Abstract
This paper explores various subtleties in our ordinary thought and talk about normative reasons—subtleties which, if taken seriously, have various upshots, both substantive and methodological. I focus on two subtleties in particular. The first concerns the use of reason (in its normative sense) as both a count noun and as a mass noun, and the second concerns the context-sensitivity of normative reasons-claims. The more carefully we look at the language of reasons, I argue, the clearer its limitations and liabilities become. The cumulative upshot is that although talk of reasons is intelligible and useful for the purposes of communication, we should be wary of placing much weight on it when engaging in substantive normative inquiry. By way of illustration, I consider some potential pitfalls of taking our talk of reasons too seriously, explaining how careful attention to the language of reasons undermines the main argument for moral particularism, Mark Schroeder’s recent defense of Humeanism about practical reasons, and the “reasons-first” program in metanormativity.
Keywords Normative Reasons  Normative Reason  Contextualism  Moral particularism  Reasons-first  Hypotheticalism  Count and mass nouns
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Moral Constraints on Gender Concepts.N. G. Laskowski - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):39-51.
The Metaphysics of Moral Explanations.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15.

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