Desires, Values, Reasons, and the Dualism of Practical Reason

Michael Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that facts about reasons for action are grounded in facts about values and against the view that they are grounded in facts about the desires that subjects would have after fully informed and rational deliberation. I describe and evaluate Parfit's arguments for this value-based conception of reasons for action and find them wanting. I also assess his response to Sidgwick's suggestion that there is a Dualism of Practical Reason. Parfit seems not to notice that his preferred value-based conception of reasons for action augurs strongly in favour of a view like Sidgwick's.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEssays on Derek Parfit's On What Matters
PublisherWiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing - Munksgaard)
Pages116-143
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781405196987
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Desire-based theories of reasons for action
  • Desire-based theories of reasons for action - the weaker the better
  • Desires, values, reasons, and dualism of practical reason
  • Instance of R4 style principle - governing formation of desires
  • Parfit's 'value-based' theory of reasons for action - what Parfit calls value 'in the reason-involving sense'
  • Parfit's preference for value-based theories of reasons for action
  • Parfit's task in On What Matters - defending version of 'value-based' theory of reasons for action
  • R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, and R6 principles
  • Rules of rationality - governing desire formation, one and all procedural
  • Value-based and desire-based theories - rival theories, what it is for something to be a reason for action

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