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Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678044.001.0001

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Two Dualisms of Practical Reason 1

Two Dualisms of Practical Reason 1

(p.114) 5 Two Dualisms of Practical Reason1
Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8

Dale Dorsey

Oxford University Press

One reading of Sidgwick’s classic dualism of practical reason holds that it is never irrational, or all-things-considered unjustified, to conform to either one’s moral or prudential obligations in a case of conflict. In this chapter, this view is explored in two guises: a substantive dualism and a structural dualism. A substantive dualism, which accepts the existence of a distinct, all-things-considered ‘ought’, is both very implausible, and relies on at least one very implausible claim about the nature of practical rationality. A structural dualism, which denies the existence of a distinct, all-things-considered ‘ought’, is more compelling. However, contrary to David Copp, a structural dualism is not thereby forced upon us. Whether, in the end, we should accept it depends on the success or failure of a substantive dualism.

Keywords:   practical reason, dualism, Sidgwick, prudence, morality

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