Christian Piller
University of York
Two plausible claims seem to be inconsistent with each other. One is the idea that if one reasonably believes that one ought to fi, then indeed, on pain of acting irrationally, one ought to fi. The other is the view that we are fallible with respect to our beliefs about what we ought to do. Ewing’s Problem is how to react to this apparent inconsistency. I reject two easy ways out. One is Ewing’s own solution to his problem, which is to introduce two different notions of ought. The other is the view that Ewing’s Problem rests on a simple confusion regarding the scope of the ought-operator. Then, I discuss two hard ways out, which I label objectivism and subjectivism, and for which G.E. Moore and Bishop Butler are introduced as historical witnesses. These are hard ways out because both of these views have strong counterintuitive consequences. After explaining why Ewing’s Problem is so difficult, I show that there is conceptual room in-between Moore and Butler, but I remain sceptical whether Ewing’s Problem is solvable within a realist framework of normative facts.
Keywords rationality  normativity  fallibility  practical reasons  subjectivism  objectivism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Normative Requirements.John Broome - 1999 - Ratio 12 (4):398–419.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Motivation.Derek Parfit - 1997 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):99–130.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A. C. Ewing: A Critical Survey of Ewing's Recent Work.John Knox Jr - 1975 - Religious Studies 11 (2):229 - 255.
The Problem of Universals.A. C. Ewing - 1971 - Philosophical Quarterly 21 (84):207-216.
Dr Ewing on Mental Acts.W. B. Gallie - 1948 - Mind 57 (October):480-487.
Symposium: The Problem of Meaning.F. C. S. Schiller, A. C. Ewing & W. F. R. Hardie - 1927 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 7 (1):98 - 123.
G. E. Moore.A. C. Ewing - 1962 - Mind 71 (282):251.


Added to PP index

Total views
276 ( #32,806 of 2,440,215 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #15,993 of 2,440,215 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes