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Shyam Nair
Arizona State University
  1. Consequences of Reasoning with Conflicting Obligations.Shyam Nair - 2014 - Mind 123 (491):753-790.
    Since at least the 1960s, deontic logicians and ethicists have worried about whether there can be normative systems that allow conflicting obligations. Surprisingly, however, little direct attention has been paid to questions about how we may reason with conflicting obligations. In this paper, I present a problem for making sense of reasoning with conflicting obligations and argue that no deontic logic can solve this problem. I then develop an account of reasoning based on the popular idea in ethics that reasons (...)
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  2.  82
    Fault Lines in Ethical Theory.Shyam Nair - 2020 - In Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. Oxford University Press. pp. 67-92.
    The verdicts standard consequentialism gives about what we are obligated to do crucially depend on what theory of value the consequentialist accepts. This makes it hard to say what separates standard consequentialist theories from non-consequentialist theories. This article discusses how we can draw sharp lines separating standard consequentialist theories from other theories and what assumptions about goodness we must make in order to draw these lines. The discussion touches on cases of deontic constraints, cases of deontic options, and cases involved (...)
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  3.  92
    A Fault Line in Ethical Theory.Shyam Nair - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):173-200.
    A traditional picture is that cases of deontic constraints--- cases where an act is wrong (or one that there is most reason to not do) even though performing that act will prevent more acts of the same morally (or practically) relevant type from being performed---form a kind of fault line in ethical theory separating (agent-neutral) consequentialist theories from other ethical theories. But certain results in the recent literature, such as those due to Graham Oddie and Peter Milne in "Act and (...)
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  4. Conflicting Reasons, Unconflicting ‘Ought's.Shyam Nair - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):629-663.
    One of the popular albeit controversial ideas in the last century of moral philosophy is that what we ought to do is explained by our reasons. And one of the central features of reasons that accounts for their popularity among normative theorists is that they can conflict. But I argue that the fact that reasons conflict actually also poses two closely related problems for this popular idea in moral philosophy. The first problem is a generalization of a problem in deontic (...)
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  5.  55
    How Do Reasons Accrue?Shyam Nair - 2016 - In Errol Lord & Barry Maguire (eds.), Weighing Reasons. Oxford University Press. pp. 56–73.
    Reasons can interact in a variety of ways to determine what we ought to do or believe. And there can be cases where two reasons to do an act or have a belief are individually worse than a reason to not do that act or have that belief, but the reasons together are better than the reason to not do that act or have that belief. So the reasons together―which we can call the accrual of those reasons—can have a strength (...)
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  6. The Logic of Reasons.Shyam Nair & John Horty - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press. pp. 67-84.
    In this chapter, we begin by sketching in the broadest possible strokes the ideas behind two formal systems that have been introduced with to goal of explicating the ways in which reasons interact to support the actions and conclusions they do. The first of these is the theory of defeasible reasoning developed in the seminal work of Pollock; the second is a more recent theory due to Horty, which adapts and develops the default logic introduced by Reiter to provide an (...)
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  7. Must Good Reasoning Satisfy Cumulative Transitivity?Shyam Nair - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):123-146.
    There is consensus among computer scientists, logicians, and philosophers that good reasoning with qualitative beliefs must have the structural property of cumulative transitivity or, for short, cut. This consensus is typically explicitly argued for partially on the basis of practical and mathematical considerations. But the consensus is also implicit in the approach philosophers take to almost every puzzle about reasoning that involves multiple steps: philosophers typically assume that if each step in reasoning is acceptable considered on its own, the whole (...)
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  8. Deontic Logic and Normative Systems - 14th International Conference, {DEON} 2018, Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 3-6, 2018.Jan M. Broersen, Gabriella Pigozzi, Cleo Condoravdi & Shyam Nair (eds.) - 2018
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  9. “Adding Up” Reasons: Lessons for Reductive and Nonreductive Approaches.Shyam Nair - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):38-88.
    How do multiple reasons combine to support a conclusion about what to do or believe? This question raises two challenges: How can we represent the strength of a reason? How do the strengths of multiple reasons combine? Analogous challenges about confirmation have been answered using probabilistic tools. Can reductive and nonreductive theories of reasons use these tools to answer their challenges? Yes, or more exactly: reductive theories can answer both challenges. Nonreductive theories, with the help of a result in confirmation (...)
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  10.  24
    Bootstrapping, Dogmatism, and the Structure of Epistemic Justification.Shyam Nair - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    Dogmatism is the view that perceptual experience provides immediate defeasible justification for certain beliefs. The bootstrapping problem for dogmatism is that it sanctions a certain defective form of reasoning that concludes in the belief that one's perceptual faculties are reliable. This paper argues that the only way for the dogmatist to avoid the bootstrapping problem is to claim that epistemic justification fails to have a structural property known as cut. This allows the dogmatist to admit that each step in the (...)
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  11. Deontic Logic and Ethics.Shyam Nair - forthcoming - In Gabbay, John Horty, Xavier Parent, Ron van der Meyden & Leon van der Torre (eds.), Handbook of Deontic Logic and Normative System, Volume 2. College Publications.
    Though there have been productive interactions between moral philosophers and deontic logicians, there has also been a tradition of neglecting the insights that the fields can offer one another. The most sustained interactions between moral philosophers and deontic logicians have notbeen systematic but instead have been scattered across a number of distinct and often unrelated topics. This chapter primarily focuses on three topics. First, we discuss the “actualism/possibilism” debate which, very roughly, concerns the relevance of what one will do at (...)
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  12.  7
    John Brunero, Instrumental Rationality: The Normativity of Means-Ends Coherence. [REVIEW]Shyam Nair - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):243-248.
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  13.  51
    Moral Dilemmas.Shyam Nair - 2015 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A moral dilemma is a situation where an agent’s obligations conflict. Debate in this area focuses on the question of whether genuine moral dilemmas exist. This question involves considering not only the nature and significance of dilemmas, but also the connections between dilemmas, the logic of obligation and moral emotions.
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  14.  64
    Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan R. Weaver and Kevin Scharp. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. Pp. 166. [REVIEW]Shyam Nair - forthcoming - Mind.
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  15.  29
    Supplement 1 to "'Adding Up' Reasons".Shyam Nair - manuscript
    This supplement provides the full proof of Theorem 2 from "'Adding Up' Reasons" (where the Theorem is stated and a proof is only gestured at).
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