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Oxford Studies in MetaethicsVolume 6$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606375.001.0001

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Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure, and Welfare 1

Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure, and Welfare 1

Chapter:
(p.79) 4 Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure, and Welfare1
Source:
Oxford Studies in Metaethics
Author(s):

Chris Heathwood

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606375.003.0004

One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one's desires (broadly construed) provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories of two other phenomena: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare commits one to recognizing that desires do provide reasons for action – i.e., commits one to abandoning the value-based theory of reasons. The purpose of this chapter is to show that this is not so. All of the following can be true: pleasure and welfare provide reasons; pleasure and welfare are to be understood in terms of desire; desires never provide reasons, in the relevant way.

Keywords:   reasons, reasons internalism, desire-based theory of reasons, reasons externalism, value-based theory of reasons, pleasure, welfare, well-being, preferentism, desire-satisfaction theory of welfare

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