In Slaves of the Passions Mark Schroeder puts forward Hypotheticalism, his version of a Humean theory of normative reasons that is capable, so he argues, to avoid many of the difficulties Humeanism is traditionally vulnerable to. In this critical notice, I first outline the main argument of the book, and then proceed to highlight some difficulties and challenges. I argue that these challenges show that Schroeder's improvements on traditional Humeanism – while they do succeed in making the view more immune (...) to some argumentative moves and somewhat more plausible – pushes rather strongly in non-Humean directions. This, together with the remaining failures of Schroeder's Hypotheticalism, should make us more rather than less suspicious of the prospects of Humeanism. (shrink)
Daniel Whiting has argued, in this journal, that Mark Schroeder’s analysis of knowledge in terms of subjectively and objectively sufficient reasons for belief makes wrong predictions in fake barn cases. Schroeder has replied that this problem may be avoided if one adopts a suitable account of perceptual reasons. I argue that Schroeder’s reply fails to deal with the general worry underlying Whiting’s purported counterexample, because one can construct analogous potential counterexamples that do not involve perceptual reasons at all. Nevertheless, I (...) claim that it is possible to overcome Whiting’s objection, by showing that it rests on an inadequate characterization of how defeat works in the examples in question. (shrink)
Mark Schroeder has recently offered a solution to the problem of distinguishing between the so-called " right " and " wrong " kinds of reasons for attitudes like belief and admiration. Schroeder tries out two different strategies for making his solution work: the alethic strategy and the background-facts strategy. In this paper I argue that neither of Schroeder's two strategies will do the trick. We are still left with the problem of distinguishing the right from the wrong kinds of reasons.
Symposium contribution on Mark Schroeder's Slaves of the Passions. Argues that Schroeder's account of agent-neutral reasons cannot be made to work, that the limited scope of his distinctive proposal in the epistemology of reasons undermines its plausibility, and that Schroeder faces an uncomfortable tension between the initial motivation for his view and the details of the view he develops.
Mark Schroeder’s expressivist program has made substantial progress in providing a compositional semantics for normative terms. This paper argues that it risks achieving this semantic progress at the cost of abandoning a key theoretical motivation for embracing expressivism in the first place. The problem can be summarized as a dilemma. Either Schroeder must allow that there are cases in which agents are in disagreement with one another, or can make valid inferences, but that these disagreements or inferences are not expressible (...) in natural language; or his version of expressivism must abandon one of the key theoretical advantages expressivist theories seemed to possess over cognitivism, the ability to provide a very straightforward explanation of the action- and attitude-guiding role of normative judgments. (shrink)
Response to Mark Schroeder’s Slaves of the passions Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9656-3 Authors Jonathan Dancy, The University of Reading, Reading, UK Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In this article I argue against Schroeder's account of the weight of normative reasons. It is shown that in certain cases an agent may have reasons she cannot know about without them ceasing to be reasons, and also reasons she cannot know about at all. Both possibilities are troubling for Schroeder's view.
Ronald Dworkin charges that the error theory is a position in first-order moral theory that should be judged by the standards that are appropriately used in evaluating first-order theories. Perl and Schroeder contend that a “presuppositional error theory” can avoid Dworkin’s charge. On the presuppositional view, moral sentences, such as, “It is wrong to torture babies,” have a false presupposition. Perhaps, for example, they presuppose that there are objectively prescriptive moral standards. This proposal can be understood in different ways, depending (...) on one’s view about presupposition. In Perl and Schroeder’s view, the “at issue” proposition expressed by an assertion of can be cleanly distinguished from the presupposed proposition, and the overall content of an assertion of is the set of these two propositions. On an “entanglement view”, the presupposed proposition is entangled with the proposition expressed by an assertion of in such a way that it is not possible to distinguish cleanly between the “at issue” content and the presupposed content. Perl and Schroeder are correct that, on their view, the presuppositional error theory can avoid Dworkin’s charge. On the entanglement view, however, it cannot avoid Dworkin’s charge. Unfortunately, however, I argue, Perl and Schroeder’s view is implausible for independent reasons. Further, I contend, Perl and Schroeder do not have a solid argument against the entanglement view. They also lack a solid argument in favor of the key, controversial thesis that moral sentences presuppose that there are objectively prescriptive moral standards. (shrink)
Like much in this book, the title and dust jacket illustration are clever. The first evokes Hume's remark in the Treatise that ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.’ The second, which represents a cross between a dance-step and a clinch, links up with the title and anticipates an example used throughout the book to support its central claims: that Ronnie, unlike Bradley, has a reason to go to a party – namely, that there will (...) be dancing at the party – because Ronnie, unlike Bradley, loves dancing. So, the explanation of why Ronnie's and Bradley's reasons differ lies in their respective psychologies.Schroeder argues for a version of the Humean Theory of Reasons he calls Hypotheticalism, which says that every reason is explained by a desire in the same way as Ronnie's is. Schroeder argues that on almost every count, Hypotheticalism is as good as, or preferable to, the Humean and non-Humean alternatives; and he defends it against an array of objections. For example, he explains that while Hypotheticalism claims that ‘desires have to serve in the explanation of every reason because desires are part of the correct analysis of reasons’ , it does not claim that a desire that explains a reason is part of that reason: rather it is a background condition for it. This, Schroeder argues, allows him to rebut a variety of objections that depend on conflating reasons with their background conditions. Other …. (shrink)
According to Doris Schroeder, the view that human rights derive from human dignity should be rejected. She thinks that this is the case for three different reasons: the first has to do with the fact that the dominant concept of dignity is based on religious beliefs which will do no justificatory work in a secular society; the second is that the dominant secular view of dignity, which is the Kantian view, does not provide us with a justification of human rights, (...) i.e. rights all humans have; and the third reason has to do with the fact that dignity is understood in too many different ways to provide us with a justification of human rights. It is argued in this paper that none of these reasons for separating human rights from human dignity is convincing. It is true, it will be argued, that some accounts of dignity will not be successful in justifying human rights. But there is no reason to assume that no account of human dignity is capable of doing this. In the final part of the paper a concept of human dignity is presented that could indeed provide us with a justificatory basis for human rights. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of eleven essays by Mark Schroeder, including one previously unpublished paper, divided into four parts. Schroeder’s substantive introduction to the volume explains the unifying argumentative thread running through these essays and will be useful even to those who have read the essays separately. The essays themselves are superb. Schroeder’s work is unmatched in its clarity, incisiveness, originality, creativity, and depth. And this volume will leave the reader with a new appreciation for various ways in which (...) assumptions about the structure of normative explanations—particularly about what Schroeder calls the Standard Model Theory—are important to central debates in metaethics. When we provide a Standard Model explanation of why someone ought to perform some action, we show how performing that action is a way or means of doing something else he ought to do ð28Þ. Suppose Mark promises to attend the workshop. Here’s a Standard Model explanation of why Mark ought to attend the workshop: attending the workshop is a way of keeping his promise, and he ought to keep his promise. On this explanation, there’s some further action Mark ought to perform ðkeeping his promiseÞ, and attending the workshop is a way of doing that. (shrink)