Philosophical Review 119 (2):201-242 (2010)

Authors
Julia Markovits
Cornell University
Abstract
This essay examines the thought that our right actions have moral worth only if we perform them for the right reasons. It argues against the view, often ascribed to Kant, that morally worthy actions must be performed because they are right and argues that Kantians and others ought instead to accept the view that morally worthy actions are those performed for the reasons why they are right. In other words, morally worthy actions are those for which the reasons why they were performed (the reasons motivating them) and the reasons why they morally ought to have been performed (the reasons morally justifying them) coincide. The essay calls this the Coincident Reasons Thesis and argues that it provides plausible necessary and sufficient conditions for morally worthy action, defending the claim against proposed counterexamples. It ends by showing that the plausibility of the thesis, which it argues is largely independent of any particular ethical standpoint, gives us some reason to doubt a class of ethical theories that includes utilitarianism.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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DOI 10.1215/00318108-2009-037
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2013 - Dissertation, Princeton University
In Defense of Moral Testimony.Paulina Sliwa - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):175-195.
Impermissible yet Praiseworthy.Theron Pummer - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):697-726.
Radical Externalism.Amia Srinivasan - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (3):395-431.

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