What’s wrong with Moorean buck-passing?

Philosophical Studies 164 (3):727-746 (2013)
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In this paper I discuss and try to remove some major stumbling blocks for a Moorean buck-passing account of reasons in terms of value (MBP): There is a pro tanto reason to favour X if and only if X is intrinsically good, or X is instrumentally good, or favouring X is intrinsically good, or favouring X is instrumentally good. I suggest that MBP can embrace and explain the buck-passing intuition behind the far more popular buck-passing account of value, and has the means to avoid the wrong kind of reasons problem. Further, I counter the common suspicion that a Moorean account cannot make sense of deontological views such as Ross’s, and that it generally leaves no room for agent-relative reasons. In order to do this, I appeal to the idea that a Moorean account does not dictate the substantive view that values have to be maximized. In some cases, expressing them might be a better response. Finally I lay out and reply to a potentially devastating argument to the effect that a Moorean account makes oughts and reasons non-normative. I also criticize Scanlon’s attempt to favour his own buck-passing account via consideration of the open question argument. MBP thus emerges as a live option in the buck-passing debate



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Francesco Orsi
University of Tartu

Citations of this work

Fittingness.Christopher Howard - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12542.
Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit.R. A. Rowland - 2023 - In Chris Howard & R. A. Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. OUP.
The Wrong Kind of Reasons.Nye Howard - 2017 - In Tristram Colin McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 340-354.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
A reply to my critics.George Edward Moore - 1942 - In Paul Arthur Schilpp (ed.), The philosophy of G. E. Moore. New York,: Tudor Pub. Co..
Engaging Reason: On the Theory of Value and Action.Joseph Raz - 1999 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press UK.

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