Thomas Nagel

in The Last Word

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195149838
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872206 | DOI:

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Considers whether moral reasoning is fundamental and inescapable. Nagel argues that we cannot step outside the procedures of justification and criticism employed in moral and practical reason and regard them as mere expressions of contingent local or cultural, or, even more broadly, human practices. Nagel rejects Bernard Williams's claim that, unlike reflective theoretical reason, reflective practical reason, of which moral reason is an example, is always first‐personal. Targeting Hume's skepticism, Nagel argues that a gap exists between inclination and decision that requires one to employ reason to determine what oneself or any other person should do when confronted by a given set of circumstances.

Keywords: first‐personal; Hume; moral reasoning; practical reason; theoretical reason; Bernard Williams

Chapter.  8431 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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