On the Connection between Normative Reasons and the Possibility of Acting for those Reasons

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1211-1223 (2016)

Authors
Neil Sinclair
Nottingham University
Abstract
According to Bernard Williams, if it is true that A has a normative reason to Φ then it must be possible that A should Φ for that reason. This claim is important both because it restricts the range of reasons which agents can have and because it has been used as a premise in an argument for so-called ‘internalist’ theories of reasons. In this paper I rebut an apparent counterexamples to Williams’ claim: Schroeder’s example of Nate. I argue that this counterexample fails since it underestimates the range of cases where agents can act for their normative reasons. Moreover, I argue that a key motivation behind Williams’ claim is compatible with this ‘expansive’ account of what it is to act for a normative reason. (Published with Open Access.)
Keywords Reasons
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-016-9731-8
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
What is a Reason to Act?Kieran Setiya - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):221-235.

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