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From Psychology to MoralityEssays in Ethical Naturalism$
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John Deigh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878597

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878597.001.0001

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Williams on Practical Reason

Williams on Practical Reason

(p.150) 7 Williams on Practical Reason
From Psychology to Morality

John Deigh

Oxford University Press

Bernard Williams’s controversial view about reasons for action is the topic of this essay. The essay explains Williams’s internalist account of reasons for action as an improvement on Donald Davidson’s account. It then corrects Williams’s criticism of externalist accounts of reasons for action by conceding that such accounts are viable as long as they do not imply that the reasons a person has for doing an action can explain his or her doing it. The concession follows from acknowledging the very different program of studying reasons in ethics exemplified in the work of Kurt Baier. Once the correction is made to Williams’s criticism, the essay offers a defense of his view against the criticisms of T. M. Scanlon and Christine Korsgaard.

Keywords:   reason for action, deliberation, practical reason, internalism about reasons, justification in ethics, Bernard Williams

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