Normative Reasons Qua Facts and the Agent-Neutral/Relative Dichotomy: a Response to Rønnow-Rasmussen

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Abstract

This paper offers a defence of the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons for action from scepticism aired by Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen. In response it is argued that the Nagelian notion of an agent-neutral reason is not incomprehensible, and that agent-neutral reasons can indeed be understood as obtaining states of affairs that count in favour of anyone and everyone performing the action they favour. Furthermore, I argue that a distinction drawn between agent-neutral and agent-relative reason-statements that express the salient features of reason-constitutive states of affairs is neither reductive in the sense of reducing normative reasons to the propositional content of an agent’s mental state, nor trivial in the sense of locating the distinction merely in an agent’s description of the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-225
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Agent-neutral
  • Agent-relative
  • Explanatory reasons
  • Motivating reasons
  • Normative reasons
  • Thomas Nagel
  • Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen

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