Group-based reasons for action
- Christopher Woodard
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
This article endorses a familiar, albeit controversial, argument for the existence of group-based reasons for action, but then rejects two doctrines which other advocates of such reasons usually accept. One such doctrine is the willingness requirement, which says that a group-based reason exists only if (sufficient) other members of the group in question are willing to cooperate. Thus the paper argues that there is sometimes a reason, which derives from the rationality of some group action, to play one's part unilaterally in that group action. This seems implausible only because we tend wrongly to accept a second doctrine, monism about the unit of agency. Monism claims that, for any given deliberative problem, there is only one unit of agency to which reasons attach. If we are monists who believe in group-based reasons, the willingness requirement will seem necessary in order to avoid recklessness. We should reject monism, and if we do so we can recognise genuine conflict between individual-based and group-based reasons, and in doing so we can explain, without endorsing the willingness requirement, why we should not act recklessly.
- Gilbert, M., On Social Facts. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.
- Glover, J., It Makes No Difference Whether Or Not I Do It. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplement Volume 49 (1975) pp. 171–190.
- Hollis, M., and Sugden, R., Rationality in Action. Mind 102 (1993), pp. 1–35.
- Hurley, S.L., Natural Reasons. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
- McClennen, E.F., Rationality and Dynamic Choice. Foundational Explorations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
- Murphy, L.B., Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Nozick, R., The Nature of Rationality. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.
- Parfit, D., Comments. Ethics 96 (1986), pp. 832–872.
- Parfit, D., Reasons and Persons. Reprint with corrections. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.
- Regan, D., Utilitarianism and Co-operation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
- Tuomela, R., The Importance of Us. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.
- Williams, B., A Critique of Utilitarianism, in J.J.C. Smart and B. Williams (eds.), Utilitarianism: For and Against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973.
- Group-based reasons for action
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Volume 6, Issue 2 , pp 215-229
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- group-based reasons for action
- unit of agency
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK