Advertisement

Internalism About Practical Reasons

Chapter
  • 174 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter places Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of practical reasons in the wider context of the contemporary metaethical debate on reasons for action. It explores the key distinction between internalist and externalist views on practical reasons, elaborating Bernard Williams’ discussion of it. I use Williams’ insights to criticize externalism and to defend internalism about reasons for action. The kind of internalism I advocate differs from Williams’ because I believe the latter is grounded in an implausible, idealized conception of practical reasoning. On my account, an agent has a reason to Φ only if she could reach the conclusion to Φ by deliberating to the best of her ability from the motivations she already has. I use these insights to criticize Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of reasons for action for being externalist.

Keywords

Williams Internalism Externalism Reasons for action Deliberation 

Bibliography

  1. Anscombe, G.E.M. 1963. Intention. 2nd ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aristotle. 2002. Nicomachean Ethics. Ed. and Trans. Roger Crisp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Burms, Arnold, and Herman de Dijn. 1986. De rationaliteit en haar grenzen. Kritiek en deconstructie. Assen: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  4. Dancy, Jonathan. 2000. Practical Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Finlay, Stephen, and Mark Schroeder. 2015. Reasons for Action: Internal vs. External. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/reasons-internal-external/. Accessed 12 Aug 2017.
  6. Frankena, William K. 1958. Obligation and Motivation in Recent Moral Philosophy. In Essays in Moral Philosophy, ed. Abraham I. Melden, 40–81. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1973. Ethics. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Kiesewetter, Benjamin. 2011. “Ought” and the Perspective of the Agent. Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy 5 (3): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. MacIntyre, Alasdair. 1999. Dependent Rational Animals. Why Human Beings Need the Virtues. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2016. Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity: An Essay on Desire, Practical Reasoning, and Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mason, Carolyn. 2006. Internal Reasons and Practical Limits on Rational Deliberation. Philosophical Explorations 9 (2): 163–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. ———. 2012. Practical Reasons. PhD diss, University of Canterbury.Google Scholar
  13. McDowell, John. 1995. Might There Be External Reasons? In World, Mind, and Ethics: Essays on the Ethical Philosophy of Bernard Williams, ed. J.E.J. Altham and Ross Harrison, 68–85. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Parfit, Derek. 1997. Reasons and Motivation. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 71 ((suppl.)): 99–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2006. Normativity. In Oxford Studies in Metaethics, ed. Russ Shafer-Landau, vol. 1, 325–380. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Schaubroeck, Katrien. 2013. The Normativity of What We Care About. A Love-Based Theory of Practical Reasons. Leuven: Leuven University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Shafer-Landau, Russ. 2003. Moral Realism: A Defence. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Smith, Michael. 1987. The Humean Theory of Motivation. Mind 96 (381): 36–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. ———. 1994. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Sobel, David. 2001a. Explanation, Internalism, and Reasons for Action. Social Philosophy & Policy 18 (2): 218–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 2001b. Subjective Accounts of Reasons for Action. Ethics 111 (3): 461–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Watson, Gary. 1975. Free Agency. The Journal of Philosophy 72 (8): 205–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wiland, Eric. 2012. Reasons. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  24. Williams, Bernard. 1981a. Persons, Character and Morality. In Moral Luck. Philosophical Papers 1973–1980, 1–19. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 1981b. Internal and External Reasons. In Moral Luck. Philosophical Papers 1973–1980, 101–113. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. ———. 1995a. Internal Reasons and the Obscurity of Blame. In Making Sense of Humanity and Other Philosophical Papers, 35–45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. ———. 1995b. Replies. In World, Mind, and Ethics: Essays on the Ethical Philosophy of Bernard Williams, ed. J.E.J. Altham and Ross Harrison, 185–224. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations