Consider the following case:
Immanuel concludes that he must never lie – not even to save a life. Then a would-be-murderer shows up, asking after Gotlieb’s whereabouts. Immanuel, though quite tormented, lies to save Gotlieb. Immanuel believes he did wrong, but feels guiltily relieved, as he cares about human lives at least as much as you and I do, weird views about morality not withstanding. That is why he lied in the first place.
In the past, I have argued that someone like Immanuel – the sort of agent I labeled an Inverse Akratic many years ago – is praiseworthy for her action in so far as it is true that she acted for good moral reasons, even if she doesn’t think they are good moral reasons. In other words, in so far as she is motivated by the right-making features of her action. I emphasized the following: a good person acts for praise-conferring motives, but a good person does not have to have a true ethical theory or even be a good ethicist. To be praiseworthy for an action you need to do it for the sake of the right or the good - de re. I thus defended, among others, Huckleberry Finn and some rather kind young people who espouse Ayn Rand’s views. Here is one question that I get a lot:
“Ok, it’s praiseworthy to follow morality de re. But doesn’t one also get at least some moral credit for caring about morality de dicto? Not even a little bit?”. Relatedly, I get “isn’t Immanuel’s conscience also a good thing about him?”