Philosophical Studies

, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 163–187 | Cite as

Grounding practical normativity: going hybrid

  • Ruth ChangEmail author

In virtue of what is something a reason for an agent to perform some action? In other words, what makes a consideration a reason for an agent to act?

This is a prima facie metaphysical or meta-normative question about the grounding of reasons for action and not a normative question about the circumstances or conditions under which, normatively speaking, one has a reason to do something. The normative question is answered by normative theory, as when one says that such-and-such feature of an action is a reason to perform that action because bringing about that feature would maximize happiness. The metaphysical question asks instead for the metaphysical determinant of something’s being a reason. When we ask for the ground of a reason’s normativity, we ask what metaphysically makes something have the action-guidingness of a reason: where does the normativity of a practical reason come from? As Christine Korsgaard puts it somewhat more poetically what is the ‘source’ of a reason’s...


Normative Fact Hard Case Moral Fact Reason Problem Normative Source 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Many thanks to Kate Manne and Julia Markovitz for excellent commentary at the Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference where this paper was presented, and to the audience at the conference for a hybrid of entertaining and probing questions. Thanks are also due to Mary Clayton Coleman, Adam Elga, Kit Fine, Zachary Irving, Andrew Israelsen, Patrick Kain, Karin Nisenbaum, Derek Parfit, Juan Pineros, Luke Roelofs, Tina Rulli, and Jessica Wilson for useful discussion and more generally to audiences at the University of Toronto, the Murphy Institute at Tulane, and Purdue for useful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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