Why be an Internalist about Reasons?<sup>1</sup>

Julia Markovits

in Oxford Studies in Metaethics

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606375
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729478 | DOI:
Why be an Internalist about Reasons?1

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Most internalists about practical reasons are drawn to internalism because they favor ethical naturalism or are persuaded of the Humean theory of motivation and think normative judgments necessarily motivate. This chapter argues that even if we don’t share these internalists’ metaethical views, we should still take internalism seriously. Internalism offers an attractive account of what reasons are that brings out one way we’re all equally sources of claims on others. Because the account appeals to the comparatively uncontroversial normative standard provided by the procedural conception of rationality, it may also act as an Archimedean point against which we can brace ourselves in disputes about reasons. Internalism, unlike externalism, explains what makes some people better at responding to reasons than others. And thinking about what internalism and externalism about epistemic reasons might look like should make us skeptical about external practical reasons. The chapter closes by suggesting we should be more hopeful about discovering universally-shared internal reasons than most externalists and internalists have allowed.

Keywords: internalism; externalism; reasons; practical reasons; epistemic reasons; rationality; practical rationality; procedural rationality; motivation; Humean Theory of Motivation

Chapter.  12172 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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