The Journal of Ethics 7 (2):183-231 (2003)

Houston Smit
University of Arizona
What makes a subject''s motivationrational is its originating in her practicalreasoning. I explain the appeal of this thesisabout rational motivation, and explore itsrelation to recent discussions of internalismabout reasons for action. I do so in theservice of clarifying an important meta-ethicaldebate between Humean motivational skeptics andtheir Kantian opponents. This debate is oneover whether, as this skeptic contends andKantians deny, considerations about ourmotivational capacities, together withinternalism, restrict genuine reasons foraction to merely instrumental ones. I arguethat properly adjudicating this debate requiresidentifying one particular way in which thethesis about rational motivation has beendeveloped – namely, as a part of what I term``the traditional conception'''' of themotivational efficacy of practical reason. Onthis conception, rational motivation consistsin choosing some course of conduct out of one''scognitive appreciation of the way its relationto one''s practicable good gives one reason todo so. And I side with Kantians against theHumean motivational skeptic in part on groundsthat Kant himself – though not all Kantians –would find congenial: namely, that we shouldaccept the traditional conception.
Keywords autonomism  categorical imperative  David Hume  good  Humean motivational skepticism  hypothetical imperative  Immanuel Kant  internalism  practical reason  rational motivation  reasons for action
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DOI 10.1023/A:1022950720463
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References found in this work BETA

Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
The Possibility of Practical Reason.David Velleman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives.Philippa Foot - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (3):305-316.
Skepticism About Practical Reason.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):5-25.

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Citations of this work BETA

Constructivism in Metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Constructivism in Metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Moral Motivation.Connie S. Rosati - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Reasons for Action: Internal Vs. External.Stephen Finlay & Mark Schroeder - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Receptivity, Reactivity and the Successful Psychopath.Erick Ramirez - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):330-343.

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