The Journal of Ethics 22 (1):25-44 (2018)

Authors
Paul Hurley
Claremont McKenna College
Abstract
I challenge the common picture of the “Standard Story” of Action as a neutral account of action within which debates in normative ethics can take place. I unpack three commitments that are implicit in the Standard Story, and demonstrate that these commitments together entail a teleological conception of reasons, upon which all reasons to act are reasons to bring about states of affairs. Such a conception of reasons, in turn, supports a consequentialist framework for the evaluation of action, upon which the normative status of actions is properly determined through appeal to rankings of states of affairs as better and worse. This covert support for consequentialism from the theory of action, I argue, has had a distorting effect on debates in normative ethics. I then present challenges to each of these three commitments, a challenge to the first commitment by T.M. Scanlon, a challenge to the second by recent interpreters of Anscombe, and a new challenge to the third commitment that requires only minimal and prima facie plausible modifications to the Standard Story. The success of any one of the challenges, I demonstrate, is sufficient to block support from the theory of action for the teleological conception of reasons and the consequentialist evaluative framework. I close by demonstrating the pivotal role that such arguments grounded in the theory of action play in the current debate between evaluator-relative consequentialists and their critics.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10892-017-9261-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas M. Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
The Moral Problem.James Lenman - 1994 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):125-126.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):280-281.

View all 39 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Modern Moral Philosophy Before and After.Constantine Sandis - 2020 - Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofía 64.
Responding Appropriately to the Impersonal Good.Jörg Löschke - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (3):701-714.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Con-Reasons and the Causal Theory of Action.Jonathan D. Payton - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (1):20-33.
Beyond Consequentialism.Paul Hurley - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Possibility of Philosophy of Action.Michael A. Smith - 1998 - In Jan Bransen & Stefaan Cuypers (eds.), Human Action, Deliberation and Causation. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 17--41.
Agency.Markus E. Schlosser - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A New Argument Against Rule Consequentialism.Christopher Woodard - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):247-261.
Particular Reasons.Selim Berker - 2007 - Ethics 118 (1):109-139.
Justification Under Uncertainty.Re’em Segev - 2012 - Law and Philosophy 31 (5):523-563.
Reasons, Values, and Rational Actions.Paul K. Moser - 1990 - Journal of Philosophical Research 15:127-151.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-12-05

Total views
153 ( #59,218 of 2,348,604 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
37 ( #18,751 of 2,348,604 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes