Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):1 – 20 (2006)

Authors
Stephen Finlay
Australian Catholic University
Abstract
Bernard Williams's motivational reasons-internalism fails to capture our first-order reasons judgements, while Derek Parfit's nonnaturalistic reasons-externalism cannot explain the nature or normative authority of reasons. This paper offers an intermediary view, reformulating scepticism about external reasons as the claim not that they don't exist but rather that they don't matter. The end-relational theory of normative reasons is proposed, according to which a reason for an action is a fact that explains why the action would be good relative to some end, where the relevant end for any ascription of reasons is determined by the speaker's conversational context. Because these ends need not be the agent's ends, Williams is wrong to reject the existence of external reasons. But contra Parfit, a reason for action is only important for an agent if it is motivationally internal to that agent.
Keywords internal and external reasons  Derek Parfit  Bernard Williams  End-relational theory  Normativity
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DOI 10.1080/00048400600571661
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Moral Problem.Michael Smith (ed.) - 1994 - Wiley.

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Normativity of Rationality.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reasons as Premises of Good Reasoning.Jonathan Way - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2).
Defining Normativity.Stephen Finlay - 2019 - In Kevin Toh, David Plunkett & Scott Shapiro (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press. pp. 62-104.
The Error in the Error Theory.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.

View all 62 citations / Add more citations

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