Social Theory and Practice 25 (3):491-517 (1999)

Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh
Christine Korsgaard has argued recently that the thesis that reasons are "essentially public" undermines the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons, thus refuting egoism by rejecting its commitment to the universal availability of agent-relative reasons. I conclude that Korsgaard's invocation of the essential publicity of reasons trades on ambiguities concerning the "sharing" of reasons and so does not refute egoism and does not ground moral normativity. Her account of the publicity of reasons shows that solipsism is incoherent, but the egoist need not be a solipsist, nor is she an incompetent user of moral language or the language of reasons.
Keywords egoism  publicity  practical reason  Korsgaard  moral skepticism
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ISBN(s) 0037-802X
DOI 10.5840/soctheorpract199925328
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