What is wrong with external reasons?

Philosophical Studies 117 (3):365-394 (2004)
Abstract
In this paper I argue that only a subset of the reason statementsWilliams defines as external must be rejected as false. `A has areason to '' is necessarily false when the ends and aimsconstitutive of A''s good close off the deliberative route from her S to the conclusion she has reason to . But when less important ends are at stake, it seems that a person''s needs generally provide reasons for action, contrary to Williams''s internalist account. I suspect, however, that there may remain inexorable disagreementover these claims because people value things in two distinct ways. Tosupport my suspicion, I explain how people''s valuation can take either an agency-prioritizing or an end-prioritizing form. I then argue thatresolving the disagreement over Williams''s internalist account ofreasons depends on whether it can be established that the agency-prioritizingform is the rationally superior form of valuation.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
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DOI 10.1023/B:PHIL.0000016486.72851.98
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