The Buck-Passing Stops Here

In Rationis Defensor (2012)
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Abstract

Thomas Scanlon influentially argues that, in the provision of reasons to act or believe, goodness and value ‘pass the buck’ to other properties. This paper first extends his arguments: if Scanlon shows that goodness and value pass the buck, then relevantly analogous arguments show that, contrary to Scanlon, duty and wrongness too pass this same buck. The paper then reverses Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments: if they show that goodness and value pass the reason-providing buck, then reasons themselves also pass the buck for providing goodness, value, duty, and wrongness. What to make of all this? The paper argues for scepticism about the significance of Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments for ethics.

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Andrew Moore
University of Otago

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