Chapter

Reconstructing Normativity and Agency

Mark Rowlands

in Can Animals Be Moral?

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199842001
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979844 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199842001.003.0009
Reconstructing Normativity and Agency

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The failure to account for control over motivations raises two potential problems. First, it seems to entail that no motivations can be normative, and hence no motivation can be moral. If so, no one—not even humans—is capable of moral action. Second, it seems to show that humans are not responsible for what they do. This chapter argues that neither of these apparent entailments is real. There is a way of accounting for normativity independently of control. This account will be objectively consequentialist and evaluationally externalist. There is also a way of accounting for agency (hence responsibility) in broadly compatibilist terms, where agency is regarded as a function of understanding rather than control.

Keywords: normativity; agency; compatibilism; externalism; consequentialism

Chapter.  10066 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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