Slaves of the Passions

Oxford University Press (2007)

Abstract

Long claimed to be the dominant conception of practical reason, the Humean theory that reasons for action are instrumental, or explained by desires, is the basis for a range of worries about the objective prescriptivity of morality. As a result, it has come under intense attack in recent decades. A wide variety of arguments have been advanced which purport to show that it is false, or surprisingly, even that it is incoherent. Slaves of the Passions aims to set the record straight, by advancing a version of the Humean theory of reasons which withstands this sophisticated array of objections. Schroeder defends a radical new view which, if correct, means that the commitments of the Humean theory have been widely misunderstood. Along the way, he raises and addresses questions about the fundamental structure of reasons, the nature of normative explanations, the aims of and challenges facing reductive views in metaethics, the weight of reasons, the nature of desire, moral epistemology, and most importantly, the relationship between agent-relational and agent-neutral reasons for action.

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California

Chapters

Motivation, Knowledge, and Virtue

This chapter extends the results of Chapter 8 to views about motivation, virtue, and knowledge. Since Hypotheticalism rejects Proportionalism, simple versions of internalism are rejected, and the view is defended that there are many ways in which someone can fail to be motivated in accorda... see more

Why be Humean?

This chapter summarizes the key ideas advanced in the book and offers positive motivation for Hypotheticalism. Some advantages of Hypotheticalism derive from the fact that it is a reductive theory of the normative. A second class of advantages derives from its treatment of the weight of re... see more

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Citations of this work

The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2013 - Dissertation, Princeton University
Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2).
Veritism Unswamped.Kurt Sylvan - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):381-435.
Why Take Painkillers?David Bain - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):462-490.

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