Overridingness, Human Correctness, and Motivational Naturalism

Samuel Scheffler

in Human Morality

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780195085648
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833634 | DOI:
Overridingness, Human Correctness, and Motivational Naturalism

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The “claim of overridingness” (CO) is the claim that it is never rational to knowingly do what morality forbids. Although Scheffler doubts that CO is true, in this chapter he develops two criticisms of the usual arguments against CO. The first is that many of these arguments are inconclusive because they take for granted the controversial claim that morality is stringent. The second criticism is that many of the arguments against CO derive their inspiration from Hume's naturalistic account of moral motivation, and are therefore vulnerable to Kant's objections to motivational naturalism. Scheffler discusses what he calls standard naturalistic accounts of moral motivation – those that explain moral motivation in terms of desire or sympathy – and observes that these accounts run into difficulty not only in answering the Kantian challenge to motivational naturalism but also in explaining certain ordinary psychological phenomena that he calls the “resonance” and “fragility” of morality.

Keywords: desire; fragility; Hume; Kant; morality; motivation; motivational naturalism; overridingness; rationality; resonance; stringent; sympathy

Chapter.  9087 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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