Normativity and reason

Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (3):406-431 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Moral obligation is a demand of reason—a demanding kind of rational justification. How to understand this rational demand? Much recent philosophy, as in the work of Scanlon, takes obligatoriness to be a reason-giving feature of an action. But the paper argues that moral obligatoriness should instead be understood as a mode of justificatory support—as a distinctive justificatory force of demand. The paper argues that this second model of obligation, the Force model, was central to the natural law tradition in ethics, is truer to everyday intuition about obligation, and also changes our understanding of the problem of moral rationality. A new account is given of why it might be irrational to breach moral obligations. The Force model also sheds new light on moral responsibility, our responsibility for meeting moral obligations. Moral obligation is a standard of reason; but moral responsibility is shown to involve far more than ordinary rational appraisability, precisely because moral obligation involves a distinctive justificatory force of demand—one which specifically governs how we act. Key Words: blame • moral responsibility • natural law • normativity • obligation • reason.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,698

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Second-Personal Reasons and Moral Obligations.Wenwen Fan - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (1):69-86.
The demand and desert functions of moral judgment.Wesley Buckwalter - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (7):1015-1035.
A Fact, As It Were: Obligation, Indifference, and the Question of Ethics.Bryan Lueck - 2016 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (1):219-234.
Ignorance and Moral Obligation.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2014 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Promises, Commitments, and the Nature of Obligation.Crescente Molina - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (1).
Principles of Ethics.Antonio Rosmini - 1989 - Dominion World Enterprises.
What Is The Basis of Moral Obligation?H. A. Prichard - 2002 - In Jim MacAdam (ed.), Moral Writings. Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press.
Obligation, Responsibility, and History.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (1):1-23.


Added to PP

898 (#17,881)

6 months
27 (#135,674)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Tom Pink
King's College London

Citations of this work

Thomas Hobbes and the Ethics of Freedom.Thomas Pink - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (5):541 - 563.
Algumas concepções filosóficas sobre a mulher e a reapropriação capitalista do patriarcado.Gigliola Mendes - 2013 - Cadernos da SIF 2013: Volume VII: Filosofia Política E Valores.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references