In Chapter 2, I argued against Nagel’s idea that altruism, and more specifically our moral responses to the suffering of others, may be explained as a structural requirement on practical reason. Reason alone, I suggested, may be insufficient to move us to help another who is suffering. This is not to deny that the suffering of another ever indicates objective reasons to act, but merely to claim that our acceptance of such reasons depends on certain primitive sympathetic ways we respond to others that are not themselves justified by appeal to reason alone. To act morally, then, is not necessarily to act on the basis of moral reasons; the case of sympathy indicates how certain moral responses to others occur prior to and provide the grounds for any systemof objective moral reasons.
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