Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition

Publication Date

3-2016

Volume

173

Issue

3

First Page

629

Last Page

663

Publisher

Springer Netherlands

Keywords

Reasons, Obligations, Normative conflicts, Deontic logic

Abstract

One of the popular albeit controversial ideas in the last century of moral philosophy is that what we ought to do is explained by our reasons. And one of the central features of reasons that accounts for their popularity among normative theorists is that they can conflict. But I argue that the fact that reasons conflict actually also poses two closely related problems for this popular idea in moral philosophy. The first problem is a generalization of a problem in deontic logic concerning the existence of conflicting obligations. The second problem arises from a tension between the fact that reasons can conflict and a model of how reasons explain ‘ought’s that has been widely accepted. Having presented each of these problems, I develop a unified solution to them that is informed by results in both ethics and deontic logic. An important implication of this solution is that we must distinguish between derivative and nonderivative reasons and revise our conception how it is that reasons explain ‘ought’s .

DOI

10.1007/s11098-015-0511-4

Print ISSN

00318116

E-ISSN

15730883

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015.

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Full-text Version

Accepted Author Manuscript

Recommended Citation

Nair, S. (2015). Conflicting reasons, unconflicting ‘ought’s. Philosophical Studies. 173(3), 629-663. doi: 10.1007/s11098-015-0511-4