On Reasons, Evidence of Oughts, and Morally Fitting Motives

Philosophia 42 (2):391-403 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In a series of papers, Stephen Kearns and Daniel Star defend the following general account of reasons: R: Necessarily, a fact F is a reason for an agent A to Φ iff F is evidence that an agent ought to Φ.In this paper, I argue that the reasons as evidence view will run afoul of a motivational constraint on moral reasons, and that this is a powerful reason to reject the reasons as evidence view. The motivational constraint is as follows: M: For some consideration C to be a moral reason for an agent to Φ it must be possible for C to figure as part of the agent’s motivation for Φing without thereby undercutting (either partially or wholly) the positive moral evaluation of the agent in acting as she does.M presents a problem for Kearns and Star’s view because there will be cases where some consideration is evidence that an agent ought to Φ, but where if an agent was motivated by that consideration the agent’s action would thereby be worse from a moral perspective for that very reason. Further, I argue that this problem will likely arise on any moral theory that evaluates the motivation of an agent as a component of assessing the moral status of acts



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,102

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Empathy, Shared Intentionality, and Motivation by Moral Reasons.Marion Hourdequin - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):403 - 419.
Humean agent-neutral reasons?Daan Evers - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (1):55 – 67.
Morality, reasons, and sentiments.Eric Vogelstein - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (3):421-432.
Reasons as Evidence.Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:215-42.
Francis Hutcheson: Why Be Moral?Douglas R. Paletta - 2011 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (2):149-159.
Practical Reasons and Moral 'Ought'.Patricia Greenspan - 2007 - In Russell Schafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. II. Clarendon Press. pp. 172-194.
Egoism and the publicity of reason: A reply to Korsgaard.Michael J. Cholbi - 1999 - Social Theory and Practice 25 (3):491-517.
Are there any nonmotivating reasons for action?Noa Latham - 2003 - In Sven Walter & Heinz-Dieter Heckmann (eds.), Physicalism and Mental Causation. Imprint Academic. pp. 273.


Added to PP

104 (#158,511)

6 months
7 (#213,770)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Jordan
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Ethics without principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Unprincipled virtue: an inquiry into moral agency.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The practice of moral judgment.Barbara Herman - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (8):414-436.

View all 26 references / Add more references