Prudence, Morality, and the Humean Theory of Reasons

Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259):220-240 (2015)

Eden Lin
Ohio State University
Humeans about normative reasons claim that there is a reason for you to perform a given action if and only if this would promote the satisfaction of one of your desires. Their view has traditionally been thought to have the revisionary implication that an agent can sometimes lack any reason to do what morality or prudence requires. Recently, however, Mark Schroeder has denied this. If he is right, then the Humean theory accords better with common sense than it has been thought to. I argue that Schroeder is mistaken, even if welfare is understood in terms of the satisfaction of one’s desires: any Humean must concede that one can sometimes lack any reason to act morally or prudently. I also identify a novel variant on Humeanism that could perhaps avoid its revisionary implications about prudence if desire satisfactionism is the correct theory of welfare
Keywords reasons  Humean theory of reasons  prudence  desire satisfactionism  well-being  Mark Schroeder
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DOI 10.1093/pq/pqu066
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References found in this work BETA

Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):574-576.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Moral Realism.Peter Railton - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207.

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Citations of this work BETA

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The Reasoning View and Defeasible Practical Reasoning.Samuel Asarnow - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):614-636.

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