By Torbjörn Tännsjö
This e-book originated from a dialogue among the writer, Derek Parfit and Wlodek Rabinowicz, and additional constructed in correspondence and extreme discussions with Wlodek Rabinowics and John Broome. the writer disputes the hot development in metaethics that makes a speciality of purposes instead of norms. The reader is invited to take a brand new examine the normal metaethical questions of ethical semantics, ontology, and epistemology.
The writer usually issues himself with specific points of those difficulties: Which are the issues of morality? Are there many alternative ethical questions, or, do all of them, within the bottom line, decrease to 1? The daring declare made during this ebook is that there's only one: What needs to be performed? additionally, there's only one resource of normativity, only one type of 'ought'-question, which lends itself to an objectively right and authoritative resolution.
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Additional info for From Reasons to Norms: On the Basic Question in Ethics
11 9 It is not quite clear, on Thomson’s account, however, what we argue to, when we give reasons for actions. For, certainly, what we argue to cannot be an action. On my account of moral reasons, what we argue to (what we explain), once we have grasped the reasons, is a normative fact. Perhaps the best way of making sense of Thomson is to take her to claim that what we argue to, once we have grasped the reasons, is an evaluative fact, the fact that a certain action would be good in some way in particular.
This is how I prefer to put things, at any rate. And this is consistent with this person having a moral reason not to take the car. I return to this kind of reasons in the next chapter. But those who want to say that a person has a reason not to travel by car in the circumstances are free to say so. And it is easy to make sense of their use of the word ‘reason’ – in terms of the notion here characterised. According to them, a person has a ‘reason’ to F if, had this person possessed all the relevant knowledge of his situation, he would have had a Humean reason to F.
Part of the sense of the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ is that practical requirements that bind agents must be ones that it is not impossible for those agents to live up to – otherwise the requirements are, as we might put it, shouting in the dark. A similar thought applies to the suggestion that some of the grounds for our reasons might be ones that we are utterly incapable of discerning. 12 To answer Dancy’s first argument, we can bet on the winning horse. We can bet on any one of them, so we can also bet on the winning one, even if we do not do so under this description.