The Role of Practical Reason in an Empirically Informed Moral Theory

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (2):203-220 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Empirical research paints a dismal portrayal of the role of reason in morality. It suggests that reason plays no substantive role in how we make moral judgments or are motivated to act on them. This paper explores how it is that an empirically oriented philosopher, committed to methodological naturalism, ought to respond to the skeptical challenge presented by this research. While many think taking this challenge seriously requires revising, sometimes dramatically, how we think about moral agency, this paper will defend the opposite reaction. Contrary to what recent discussions lead us to expect, practical reason is not simply a philosophical fiction lacking empirical roots. Empirical research does not exclude the possibility that practical reason can play a substantive role; rather, there is evidence that it can help us both to determine our first personal moral judgments and to motivate us to act on them

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,813

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Practical reason, value and action.Alison Hills - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (3):375-392.
Pleasure, Desire and Practical Reason.James Lenman - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):143-149.
Desire, Practical Reason, and the Good.Sergio Tenenbaum (ed.) - 2010 - , US: Oxford University Press.
Reid and Moral Emotions.Sabine Roeser - 2009 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 7 (2):177-192.
Formal principles and the form of a law.Andrews Reath - 2010 - In Andrews Reath & Jens Timmermann (eds.), Kant's Critique of Practical Reason: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-05-04

Downloads
161 (#121,701)

6 months
2 (#1,249,707)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Lorraine L. Besser
Middlebury College

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior.John M. Doris - 2002 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The emotional construction of morals.Jesse J. Prinz - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 20 references / Add more references