The Journal of Ethics 21 (1):63-88 (2017)

Caj Strandberg
University of Oslo
According to a guiding idea in metaethics, there is a necessary link between the concept of normative reasons and the concept of practical rationality. This notion brings up two issues: The exact nature of this link, and the nature of rationality. With regard to the first issue, the debate is dominated by a certain standard claim. With regard to the second issue, the debate is dominated by what I will refer to as ‘subjectivism’ and ‘objectivism’ about rationality, where the latter is assumed to be a necessary condition for the existence of categorical reasons. In this paper, it is argued that subjectivism is able capture an ordinary, non-technical, sense of ‘rational’ whereas objectivism is not. The basic reason is that objectivism fails to account for the essential connection between rationality, malfunctioning, and rational criticism. This means that we face a puzzle: While objectivism appears to be a necessary condition for the existence of categorical reasons, it fails to capture a central sense of ‘rational’. It is finally argued that this puzzle can be solved by abandoning the standard claim about the link between reasons and rationality.
Keywords Normative reasons  Internalism  Externalism  Practical rationality  Categorical reasons  Moral reasons  Rational criticism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10892-016-9239-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,735
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

Reasons for Action: Internal Vs. External.Stephen Finlay & Mark Schroeder - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
An Ecumenical Account of Categorical Moral Reasons.Caj Strandberg - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (2):160-188.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Puzzle About Morality and Rationality.Zhen Chen - 1999 - Dissertation, Wayne State University
Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Two Accounts of the Normativity of Rationality.Jonathan Way - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (1):1-9.
Swimming Upstream – Problems for Smith’s Account of the Nature of Reasons.Jeppe Berggreen Høj - 2008 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 15 (3):283-294.
Unity of Reasons.Adam Cureton - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):877-895.
Autonomous Reasons for Intending.Randolph Clarke - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (2):191 – 212.
What Apparent Reasons Appear to Be.Kurt Sylvan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):587-606.
Moral Reasons, Epistemic Reasons, and Rationality.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):341-361.
Reasons and Rationality.Jonathan Way - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
Fumerton's Puzzle for Theories of Rationality.Ru Ye - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):93-108.


Added to PP index

Total views
71 ( #145,343 of 2,432,434 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,210 of 2,432,434 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes