Being Realistic about Reasons by T. M. Scanlon
By T. M. Scanlon
T. M. Scanlon deals a professional safety of normative cognitivism--the view that there are irreducibly normative truths approximately purposes for motion. He responds to 3 wide-spread objections: that such truths may have troubling metaphysical implications; that we might haven't any approach of realizing what they're; and that the position of purposes in motivating and explaining motion couldn't be defined if accepting a end approximately purposes for motion have been one of those trust. Scanlon solutions the 1st of those objections inside a basic account of ontological dedication, utilising to arithmetic in addition to normative judgments. He argues that the tactic of reflective equilibrium, safely understood, presents an enough account of the way we come to understand either normative truths and mathematical truths, and that the assumption of a rational agent explains the hyperlink among an agent's normative ideals and his or her activities. no matter if each assertion approximately purposes for motion has a determinate fact worth is a query to be replied through an total account of purposes for motion, in normative phrases. because it turns out not going that there's such an account, the protection of normative cognitivism provided here's certified: statements approximately purposes for motion may have determinate fact values, however it isn't really transparent that each one of them do. alongside the way in which, Scanlon deals an interpretation of the excellence among normative and non-normative claims, a brand new account of the supervenience of the normative at the non-normative, an interpretation of the assumption of the relative energy of purposes, and a protection of the tactic of reflective equilibrium.
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Extra resources for Being Realistic about Reasons
A person, x, might have reason for doing a because it is necessary to save her child’s life. 22 It follows from the fact that a would save the life of x’s child that doing a would save someone’s life, and this fact, p’, would be a reason for another person, y, to do a. The relational character of claims about reasons has been noted by others, including Jonathan Dancy, Terence Cuneo, and John Skorupski. See Dancy, Ethics Without Principles, Chapter 3, especially pp. 38ff; Cuneo, The Normative Web, p.
37 But one need not take examples as complex as these to find mixed normative claims. Even claims involving “thin” ethical concepts such as “morally wrong” are mixed normative claims in my view: to claim that an action is morally wrong is to claim that it has properties that provide reasons to reject any principle that would permit it. In everyday English, even the claim, “She has a good reason not to do it, since it would hurt her sister’s feelings” is a mixed claim, since it cannot be true unless the action in question would in fact hurt her sister’s feelings.
The connection between these is not logical or conceptual entailment. Rather, it is simply a normative truth that if p is not the case then neither is it the case that R(p, x, c, a). Mixed normative claims, such as (2), thus depend on non-normative claims, this dependence being determined, ultimately, by pure n ormative lecture 2: metaphysical objections claims. It might be tempting to say that mixed normative claims such as (2) are “true in virtue of ” non-normative claims such as (1). But this would be misleading insofar as it suggested that they are true only in virtue of the truth of these claims, neglecting the role of pure normative claims in determining how this is the case.