Towards an Ecumenical Theory of Normative Reasons

Dialectica 72 (1):69-100 (2018)
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Abstract

A theory of normative reasons for action faces the fundamental challenge of accounting for the dual nature of reasons. On the one hand, some reasons appear to depend on, and vary with, desires. On the other hand, some reasons appear categorical in the sense of being desire‐independent. However, it has turned out to be difficult to provide a theory that accommodates both these aspects. Internalism is able to account for the former aspect, but has difficulties to account for the latter, whereas externalism is vulnerable to the reverse problem. In this paper, I outline an ecumenical view that consists of two parts: First, I defend a distinction between requiring reasons and justifying reasons in terms of their different connections to rationality. Second, I put forward a subjectivist, procedural, view of rationality. The ecumenical alternative, I argue, is able to accommodate the mentioned duality within a unified theory. In outlining this view, I also suggest that it has a number of other significant advantages.

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Caj Strandberg
University of Oslo

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References found in this work

The Possibility of Practical Reason.David Velleman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.
The Moral Problem.James Lenman - 1994 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):125-126.

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