Whole-Hearted Motivation and Relevant Alternatives: A Problem for the Contrastivist Account of Moral Reasons

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):835-845 (2014)

Authors
Andrew Jordan
Otterbein College
Abstract
Recently, Walter Sinott-Armstrong and Justin Snedegar have argued for a general contrastivist theory of reasons. According to the contrastivist account of reasons, all reasons claims should be understood as a relation with an additional place for a contrast class. For example, rather than X being a reason for A to P simpliciter, the contrastivist claims that X is a reason for A to P out of {P,Q,R…}. The main goal of this paper is to argue that the contrastivist account of reasons will be ill-fitted for accommodating certain features of moral reasons. In brief, the reason why the contrastivist analysis fails is that it cannot adequately allow for cases of morally correct whole-hearted action—cases where consideration of any alternate course of action would be misguided. But, if all consideration of alternate courses of action is misguided, then it is hard to see how one can set the relevant contrast class that is essential to the contrastivist view—any contrast class will seem out of place. In addition, I address some of the arguments that have been given in favor of the contrastivist account of reasons and argue that there are at least two ways that the non-contrastivist can respond to these arguments
Keywords Moral Reasons  Contrastivism  Moral Motivation  Virtuous Agency  Virtue Theory
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-013-9485-5
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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.
Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Moral Reasons.Jonathan Dancy - 1993 - Blackwell.
Moral Skepticisms.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
From Contextualism to Contrastivism.Jonathan Schaffer - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 119 (1-2):73-104.

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Citations of this work BETA

Deliberation, Reasons, and Alternatives.Justin Snedegar - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.

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