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Grant number: FT-254758-17

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Mark van Roojen
University of Nebraska, Board of Regents (Lincoln, NE 68588-0007)

Moral Rationalism: Making Sense of the Reasons that Justify and Explain Morally Right Action

Writing two chapters in a book on a new theory of justification.

Moral rationalism identifies the norms of morality with norms of practical reasoning, explaining why we have reason to act rightly. Most contemporary rationalists adopt ideal advisor accounts of rationality—you have most reason to do what your ideal all-knowing advisor tells you. This has costs. It prevents reasons from playing certain explanatory and justificatory roles and obscures how we know what reasons and morality require. I work with an example model—an agent has most reason to do what a rational agent would do in her shoes. I build from there to the objective reasons captured in the advisor model by adding in information and more. But I do not need to leave the agent’s perspective to talk about advisors distinct from the agent. The resulting view unifies objective and subjective reasons, and makes sense of what we should do when we lack full information or certain abilities. It captures the idea that reasons motivate rational agents in an ordinary sense.

Project fields:

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 6/30/2017