Good reasons: reasons, values, and oughtsnull, John Broome (University of Oxford, Australian National University), Daniel Star (Boston University), Stephen Kearns (Florida State University), null, null null, Susanne Mantel (Universität des Saarlandes)
The good, the true, and the beautiful: XXV. Congress of the German Society for Philosophy
The concept of a normative reason is one of the most important concepts in practical philosophy, but within the last ten years there has been an ongoing debate that raised many questions about it. On the one hand, normative reasons are thought to play important guiding roles in reasoning and rational deliberation. On the other hand, normative reasons are often said to explain what an agent ought to do and are said to be value-based. One question that has come up is whether these two views exclude each other: If normative reasons are explanations or determinants of ought, does that exclude some of the entities which guide our reasoning (such as the fact that a reliable book tells me to do something)? The answer to this question might in part depend on which ought we are talking about – that is, on the question whether the most central ought is an objective ought or a perspectival or subjective ought. It seems that reasons are based in actual value if they are understood as the determinants of objective oughts, and that they might be much closer to expected value if they are either the determinants of a perspectival or rational ought, or merely evidence of an objective ought.
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