The relations between reason, motivation and value present problems which, though ancient, remain intractable. If values are objective and rational how can they move us and if they are dependent on our contingent desires how can they be rational? E. J. Bond makes a bold attack on this dilemma. The widespread view among philosophers today is that judgements contain an irreducible element of personal commitment. To this Professor Bond proposes an account of values as objective and value judgements as true (...) or false, employing a distinction between grounding and motivating reasons to establish their connection with action. He defines and tests his position against a number of recent theories, providing in the process forceful criticism of Williams, Wiggins, Foot, Narveson and Nagel, among others. A distinctive contribution to the subject, it will stimulate interest and worthwhile debate among philosophers, while also serving as an introduction to this vital topic. (shrink)
This is an ideal introduction to moral philosophy for beginning students and general readers, dealing with the philosophical theories which often lie behind everyday opinions and inviting the reader to examine those theories thoroughly. Using numerous examples and diagrams, Professor Bond guides the reader through the key problems of theoretical ethics seeking to outline a substantial view of morality in universal practical reason, he concludes in an attempt to show that a viable universal morality can only relate to the thriving, (...) flourishing or well-being of individuals in a community. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to show how confusion and unclarity about reasons for action has led to serious error in ethics and the philosophy of action, and to try to set matters right. In Part I I set out what reasons for doing are, and try to make clear the distinction between reasons as justifying actions and reasons as motivating them. In Part II I try to show how, even in the ideal situation of successful and correct deliberation, (...) a justifying reason is never identical with a motivating one, since they are two quite different sorts of thing. However a motivating reason and what one takes to be a justifying reason may be the same. In Part Ill I show how failing to make these distinctions leads to paradoxes and absurdities in the philosophy of action. It emerges that a related distinction must be made between wanting, valuing, and being valuable. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to show, by considering a number of sources, including Wittgenstein, Sartre, Thomas Nagel and Spinoza, but also adding something crucial of my own, that it is impossible to construe the subject of experience as an object among other objects in the world. My own added argument is the following. The subject of experience cannot move in time along with material events and processes or it could not be aware of the passage of time, hence neither (...) of change nor of motion. The subject cannot therefore be identified with any neural process, function, or location since whatever goes on in the CNS is necessarily objective and part of the temporal flux. However this does not imply any form of dualism for experiences exist only for the subject whose experiences they are and hence they have no objective reality. (shrink)
Williams claims that the only particular moral truths, and perhaps the only moral truths of any kind, are nonobjective, i.e., culture-bound. For Lovibond we have moral truths when an assertion-condition is satisfied, and that is determined by the voice of the relevant moral authority as embodied in the institutions of the sittlich morality. According to MacIntyre one must speak from within a living tradition for which there can be no external rational grounding. However, if my criticisms of traditional philosophical ethics (...) are sound, such relativist and historicist views are unjustified, and the project of seeking a rationally grounded morality is perfectly in order. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to show, by considering a number of sources, including Wittgenstein, Sartre, Thomas Nagel and Spinoza, but also adding something crucial of my own, that it is impossible to construe the subject of experience as an object among other objects in the world. My own added argument is the following. the subject of experience cannot move in time along with material events and processes or it could not be aware of the passage of time, hence neither (...) of change nor of motion. the subject cannot therefore be identified with any neural process, function, or location since whatever goes on in the CNS is necessarily objective and part of the temporal flux. However this does not imply any form of dualism for experiences exist only for the subject whose experiences they are and hence they have no objective reality. (shrink)
It is claimed that gewirth does not address himself to the main lines of criticism put forward in "gewirth on reason and morality," but instead berates the author for insufficient attention to, Failure to acknowledge, And misinterpretation of, Aspects of what he (gewirth) has said. These charges are denied, With the suggestion that the shoe is on the other foot, And some of the main lines of criticism are re-Affirmed.
I would like to thank Jan Narveson for suggesting that I be permitted a few words in reply, and Michael McDonald, the co-editor of this journal, for agreeing to the suggestion. I will not waste words but will plunge right in.
In a famous passage in her book, Intention , Professor G. E. M. Anscombe argues that we can only render intelligible the idea of someone wanting a thing if we know under what aspect the person sees the thing as desirable. The wanted thing must be characterized by the wanter as desirable in some respect. ‘[What] is required for our concept of “wanting”’, she says, ‘is that a man should see what he wants under the aspect of some good’ . (...) And furthermore, ‘the good conceived by the agent to characterize the thing must really be one of the many forms of good’ . Thus, while the object of desire need only be conceived as good by the wanter, and need not be really good, this can only be because the object does not have the desirable character the wanter believes it to have, not because the character supposed to be desirable is not really so. Desire cannot but be for one of the real forms of good. (shrink)
In Part I of this paper I attempt to present, in more or less summary fashion, some well-known difficulties in the concept of deontic morality , as shown by certain features of deontic moral discourse. I make no great claims for originality here, although perhaps there may be some virtue in the presentation and ordering. In any case, Part I is a necessary preliminary to Part II, where I attempt to defend the rationality of and the necessity for deontic language (...) against some recent attacks. (shrink)