Does the Explanatory Constraint on Practical Reasons favour Naturalism about Practical Reasons?

There is an explanatory constraint on practical reasons: practical reasons have to be the kinds of things that we can act for. Some philosophers, notably Bernard Williams, have argued that the explanatory constraint favours internalism about reasons: for an agent to have a reason to x, it is at least a necessary condition that she would, after ideal deliberation, be motivated to x. Internalism suggests that naturalism about reasons is more plausible for, in this view, reasons are psychological states. However, reasons must not only be the kinds of things we can act for, at least some reasons must be good reasons, i.e. normative requirements. Derek Parfit argues that internalist, naturalist accounts cannot capture the normative aspect of reasons. He takes this to be a point in favour of his own externalist, non-naturalist account. I ask first whether Williams' account does fail to account for the normativity of reasons as Parfit argues, and second whether Parfit's externalist account can adequately meet the explanatory constraint. Although I claim that the answer to the first question is yes and the second no, the answer to both questions turns on the nature of practical rationality. My case stands if practical rationality is procedural, and falls if practical rationality is substantive. I argue, however, that the burden of proof is on those who, like Parfit, wish to defend a substantive account of practical rationality. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.24(2) 2005: 97-108
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.4314/sajpem.v24i2.31417
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,719
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
On Desires and Practical Reasons.John J. Tilley - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (32):5-18.
Constructivism About Practical Reasons.Aaron James - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):302–325.
Prudence and the Temporal Structure of Practical Reasons.Duncan MacIntosh - 2003 - In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford University Press. pp. 230--250.
Is There a Nexus Between Reasons and Rationality?Michael Smith - 2007 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 94 (1):279-298.
Teleological Reasons.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
Impartiality and Practical Reason.Leigh B. Kelley - 1986 - Philosophy Research Archives 12:1-65.
Acting Without Reasons.José Luis Prades Celma - 2007 - Disputatio 2 (23):1-18.
Practical Reasons: The Problem of Gridlock.Ruth Chang - 2014 - In Barry Dainton & Howard Robinson (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Continuum Publishing Corporation. pp. 474-499.
The Reasons That Matter.Stephen Finlay - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):1 – 20.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
13 ( #365,552 of 2,197,279 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #148,861 of 2,197,279 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature