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The Oxford Handbook of Rationality$
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Alfred R. Mele and Piers Rawling

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195145397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195145399.001.0001

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DUTY, RATIONALITY, AND PRACTICAL REASONS

DUTY, RATIONALITY, AND PRACTICAL REASONS

Chapter:
(p.110) chapter 7 DUTY, RATIONALITY, AND PRACTICAL REASONS
Source:
The Oxford Handbook of Rationality
Author(s):

David McNaughton (Contributor Webpage)

Piers Rawling (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195145399.003.0007

McNaughton and Rawling present a view on which practical reasons are facts, such as the fact that the rubbish bin is full. This is a non-normative fact, but it is a reason for you to do something, namely take the rubbish out. They see rationality as a matter of consistency (failing to notice that the rubbish bin is full need not be a rational failure). And they see duty as neither purely a matter of rationality nor of practical reason: on the one hand, the rational sociopath is immoral; but, on the other, morality does not require that we always act on the weightiest moral reasons (we may not be reasonably expected to know what these are). McNaughton and Rawling criticize various forms of internalism, including Williams’s, and they tentatively propose a view of duty that is neither purely subjective in Prichard’s sense, nor purely objective.

Keywords:   consistency, duty, fact, internalism, morality, normativity, objectivity, practical, reason, subjectivity

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