I'm really enjoying Scanlon's new book "Being Realistic About Reasons" (all citations below to this book), but I'm stumbling on the part about pure normative truths and the explanation of supervenience. Any help would be much appreciated.
Just a quick reminder that our next Ethics discussion, on Peter Railton's "The Affective Dog and Its Rational Tale: Intuition and Attunement," takes place on August 4-6. Railton's article is available open access here. The discussion will start with a critical précis by Bryce Huebner. Join us for the fun if you can!
Happy Bastille Day! One more post for N and M month.
Some Kantians make a lot of the fact that often, when we are being moral, we don’t feel like we want to do the right thing, but we do it. Korsgaard openly ridicules the view that a good person actually wants to do the right thing, calling it “the good dog” picture of the virtuous person. Suppose we want to say desire is the source of all worthy motivation. We then need to explain why doing the right because you desire the right can feel so damn different from drinking coffee because you desire coffee.
I’ll try and sketch an explanation, and incidentally defend both happy, doglike good-doing (sometimes) and dour good-doing (sometimes).
I was asked to post the following call for papers for a climate change ethics conference that looks very interesting. This is a workshop in Helsinki, Finland (the good old days...) from 11th to 13th of November, 2014. The confirmed keynotes are John Broome (Oxford) and John O'Neill (Manchester). The deadline for abstracts is on the 17th of August. More information below.
In my previous post, I argued that there are state-given reasons not to believe certain propositions. In this post, I shall argue that there are also state-given reasons both for and against intending.
According to a common view, the difference between the “right” kind of reasons that support the distinctive rationality of belief, intention, or other attitudes, and the “wrong” kind of reasons that do not, is that the former are “object-given” reasons while the latter are “state-given” reasons. As I shall argue here, this view is false: it is open to some simple counterexamples.
In this post, I shall explain why the reason that explains why it is irrational to believe Moore-paradoxical propositions (like the proposition that you might express by uttering a first-person present-tensed sentence of the form ‘p and I don’t believe that p’) is a state-given reason, even though it is a reason of “the right kind”. (In a later post, I shall explain why our reasons not to have intentions that would frustrate their own realization are similarly “state-given”.)
This is definitely work in progress, if you can call it that.
Tim Schroeder and I have defended a view according to which even though virtuous people seem different from the rest of us in many ways, it basically comes down to a difference in desires. A person who has a deep intrinsic desire for the right and the good de re (or desires for the various things that are right and good) is as a result not only disposed to act differently but also has a different mental life in many ways, emotional and cognitive. For the purpose of this post, though, it doesn’t matter if we talk about what we intrinsically desire or what we care about as long as we assume neither is a cognitive state.
I would like develop this view further, with attention to questions I keep getting.
One is :“if a virtuous person does the right thing out of a desire, how come she often feels a sense of duty, not desire?” Warning: I plan to post my answer soon!
Other questions concern the phronimos, but I have no view about the phronimos, only about the good person.