David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 42 (4):365-384 (2012)
An influential tradition in moral philosophy attempts to explain an immoral action by reference to the defect in reasoning on the part of an immoral agent. On this view, the requirements of morality are not only sanctioned by the more general requirements of rationality, but the violations of the moral requirements would be indicative of a rational failure. In this article I argue that ascription of irrationality to amoral individuals (e.g., psychopaths) is either empirically false, or else, conceptually problematic. An interpretation of irrationality in its instrumental sense fails to do justice to the results of the research concerning the intelligence of some amoralists, whereas the suggestion that the alleged cognitive deficiency lies at the level of final ends and ultimate values faces serious theoretical difficulties. All attempts to construe the notion of an external reason for action without reference to the agent's actual goals and values bespeak an objectivist's bias, rest on controversial assumptions, and tend to alienate the agent from the proposed set of reasons. The argument is partly based on the analysis of reasoning of Ted Bundy, a notorious serial murderer, who presents a rather sophisticated justification for his criminal behavior
|Keywords||amoralism psychopathology rationality moral rationalism Ted Bundy|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Alasdair C. MacIntyre (2007). After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. University of Notre Dame Press.
Rosalind Hursthouse (1999). On Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
J. L. Mackie (1977). Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. Penguin Books.
Thomas Hobbes (2012). Leviathan. Clarendon Press.
Michael Smith (1994). The Moral Problem. Blackwell.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Niko Kolodny (2005). Why Be Rational? Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Nick Chater & Mike Oaksford (2000). The Rational Analysis of Mind and Behavior. Synthese 122 (1-2):93-131.
Julian Fink (2014). A Constitutive Account of 'Rationality Requires'. Erkenntnis (4):909-941.
Bart Streumer (2011). Review of David Sobel and Steven Wall, Reasons for Action. [REVIEW] Analysis 71 (1):200-202.
John Brunero (2010). The Scope of Rational Requirements. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):28-49.
Robert N. Johnson (2008). Kant's Moral Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Michael Smith (2011). Deontological Moral Obligations and Non-Welfarist Agent-Relative Values. Ratio 24 (4):351-363.
Richard Paul Hamilton (2004). Might There Be Legal Reasons? Res Publica 10 (4):425-447.
Amy Peikoff (2003). Rational Action Entails Rational Desire: A Critical Review of Searle's Rationality in Action. Philosophical Explorations 6 (2):124 – 138.
Andrew Reisner (2011). Is There Reason to Be Theoretically Rational? In Andrew Reisner & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press.
Jacob Ross (2009). How to Be a Cognitivist About Practical Reason. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:243-281.
Added to index2012-07-03
Total downloads35 ( #137,474 of 1,925,556 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #254,979 of 1,925,556 )
How can I increase my downloads?