Chapter

DUTY, RATIONALITY, AND PRACTICAL REASONS

David McNaughton and Piers Rawling

in The Oxford Handbook of Rationality

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145397
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199752393 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195145399.003.0007
 DUTY, RATIONALITY, AND PRACTICAL REASONS

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McNaughton and Rawling present a view on which practical reasons are facts, such as the fact that the rubbish bin is full. This is a non-normative fact, but it is a reason for you to do something, namely take the rubbish out. They see rationality as a matter of consistency (failing to notice that the rubbish bin is full need not be a rational failure). And they see duty as neither purely a matter of rationality nor of practical reason: on the one hand, the rational sociopath is immoral; but, on the other, morality does not require that we always act on the weightiest moral reasons (we may not be reasonably expected to know what these are). McNaughton and Rawling criticize various forms of internalism, including Williams’s, and they tentatively propose a view of duty that is neither purely subjective in Prichard’s sense, nor purely objective.

Keywords: consistency; duty; fact; internalism; morality; normativity; objectivity; practical; reason; subjectivity

Chapter.  10676 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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