Philosophical Studies 165 (3):805-824 (2013)

John Brunero
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Can a normative reason be understood as a kind of explanation? I here consider and argue against two important analyses of reasons as explanations. John Broome argues that we can analyze reasons in terms of the concepts of explanation and ought. On his view, reasons to ϕ are either facts that explain why one ought to ϕ (what he calls “perfect reasons”) or facts that play a for-ϕ role in weighing explanations (what he calls “pro tanto reasons”). I argue against Broome’s account of both perfect and pro tanto reasons. Other philosophers, including Joseph Raz, analyze reasons in terms of the concepts of explanation and good. On this view, some fact is a reason to ϕ if and only if that fact explains why ϕ-ing would be good in some respect, to some degree. This view avoids the objections to Broome’s view, but should be rejected since not all explanations of why ϕ-ing would be good constitute reasons to ϕ.
Keywords Reasons  Explanation  Broome  Value
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9982-8
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References found in this work BETA

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On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
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Right in Some Respects: Reasons as Evidence.Daniel Whiting - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2191-2208.

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