2021-02-15Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/25497
Naturalizing the contributory
This paper has two aims. First, I critically discuss Daniel Whiting’s (Philos Stud 195(9):2191–2208, 2018) recent proposal that a reason to ϕ is evidence of a respect in which it is right to ϕ. I raise two objections against this view: (i) it is subject to a modifed version of Eva Schmidt’s (Ethics 127(3):708–718, 2018) counterexample against the infuential account of reasons in terms of evidence and ‘ought’, and—setting aside judgments about specifc cases—, (ii) it is also in an important sense uninformative. Interestingly, it turns out that this last objection cannot be helpfully understood in terms of circularity. This leads to a more general question about the criteria of adequacy for reductive accounts of reasons: In what sense, if any, should such accounts be informative? The second aim of this paper is to clarify one such sense, which is suggested by refection on Whiting’s proposal. In particular, I argue that successful reductive accounts naturalize the contributory—by which I mean, roughly, that they explain the specifcally contributory nature of reasons in fully non-normative terms. Moreover, I explain how views that fail this criterion are unable to meet certain key explanatory desiderata for reductive accounts of reasons. After broaching some of the wider implications for the project of understanding the notion of a reason in other terms, I conclude that the notion of naturalizing the contributory is a helpful notion for structuring the debate over reductive accounts of reasons.
Files in this item