Reason, Psychology, and the Authority of Morality

Samuel Scheffler

in Human Morality

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780195085648
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833634 | DOI:
Reason, Psychology, and the Authority of Morality

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Scheffler begins this chapter by arguing that less turns on the question of morality's overridingness than some have supposed. Even if the claim of overridingness were shown to be true, that would not guarantee that all sane human beings would act morally. And even if the claim were false, most people would not abandon their moral beliefs and concerns. The question of what kind of authority morality would have if CO were false is further illuminated by Scheffler's extended discussion of moral motivation and psychoanalytic theory. Although Scheffler remains agnostic on the truth of this theory, Freud's classic account of moral motivation serves as an example of a naturalistic account that, unlike the standard accounts, is responsive to Kant's challenge to naturalism and can offer viable explanations of the resonance and fragility of morality.

Keywords: authority; fragility; Freud; Kant; morality; motivation; overridingness; psychoanalysis; reason; resonance

Chapter.  10860 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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