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On What MattersVolume One$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572809

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199572809.001.0001

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Further Arguments

Further Arguments

(p.83) 4 Further Arguments
On What Matters

Derek Parfit

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents further arguments about reasons, including the all or none argument and the incoherence argument. We have reasons to have certain telic desires, such as a reason to want to avoid all future agony. We can also ask whether, as subjectivists claim, our telic desires give us reasons. When we want to avoid some future period of agony, or lesser pain, it is often true that, even after ideal deliberation, we would have no other present desire or aim whose fulfilment would be prevented by this future pain, and no present desire or aim that could be claimed to give us a desire-based or aim-based reason to want to avoid this pain. If we accept some subjective theory about reasons, we cannot use ‘best for someone’ in this reason-implying sense. This chapter also considers two kinds of epistemic theory: the reason-based theory and the belief-based theory. Finally, it discusses objective reason-based theories; subjective aim-based theories; reasons, motives, and well-being; and arguments for subjectivism.

Keywords:   reasons, all or none argument, incoherence argument, desires, agony, subjective theory, epistemic theory, motives, well-being, subjectivism

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