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Reasons and Two Kinds of Fact

Rønnow-Rasmussen, Toni LU (2012) In Discusiones Filosóficas 13(20). p.95-113
Abstract
Reasons are facts, i.e., they are constituted by facts. This “reason quo fact” claim is much endorsed in recent literature. This paper addresses some issues that arise when we apply this idea to the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative normative reasons. I shall mainly consider two views of the nature of facts. Given a popular view, which conceives of facts as abstract entities, the neutral-relative dichotomy is often regarded as not being particularly problematic.

Thus, on this so called thin approach, it is possible that some reasons qua facts are agent-neutral and some are agent-relative. On a second, less popular approach, the so-called thick approach, reason statements refer to concrete entities; i.e., it is... (More)
Reasons are facts, i.e., they are constituted by facts. This “reason quo fact” claim is much endorsed in recent literature. This paper addresses some issues that arise when we apply this idea to the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative normative reasons. I shall mainly consider two views of the nature of facts. Given a popular view, which conceives of facts as abstract entities, the neutral-relative dichotomy is often regarded as not being particularly problematic.

Thus, on this so called thin approach, it is possible that some reasons qua facts are agent-neutral and some are agent-relative. On a second, less popular approach, the so-called thick approach, reason statements refer to concrete entities; i.e., it is thick entities rather than thin propositional-like features that are constitutive reasons. In the course of the paper, once we examine some of
the apparent advantages of the thin approach, I shall argue that they come out as problematic. But, more importantly, despite some more or less obvious advantages, the thin account is inferior to the thicker account in at least some important aspects. First, the thin approach trivializes the substantial debate on whether there are any agent-neutral or agent-relative reasons. Second, it is argued that the thin account implies that agents face endless reasons; if this implication cannot be resisted the thin view appears aesthetically less
appealing than the thick account. The thick account is not flawless, though. At the end, I will discuss a couple of objections to it. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Agent-relative reason, Agent-neutral reason, Practical reasons, Facts, John Broome, Thomas Nagel
in
Discusiones Filosóficas
volume
13
issue
20
pages
95 - 113
publisher
Universidad de Caldas
ISSN
0124-6127
project
On Our Good Reasons
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7df3f704-63dd-4501-bc1b-86cad9d37c75 (old id 2438872)
alternative location
http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/difil/v13n20/v13n20a05.pdf
date added to LUP
2012-04-13 11:51:23
date last changed
2016-10-07 15:24:40
@article{7df3f704-63dd-4501-bc1b-86cad9d37c75,
  abstract     = {Reasons are facts, i.e., they are constituted by facts. This “reason quo fact” claim is much endorsed in recent literature. This paper addresses some issues that arise when we apply this idea to the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative normative reasons. I shall mainly consider two views of the nature of facts. Given a popular view, which conceives of facts as abstract entities, the neutral-relative dichotomy is often regarded as not being particularly problematic. <br/><br/>Thus, on this so called thin approach, it is possible that some reasons qua facts are agent-neutral and some are agent-relative. On a second, less popular approach, the so-called thick approach, reason statements refer to concrete entities; i.e., it is thick entities rather than thin propositional-like features that are constitutive reasons. In the course of the paper, once we examine some of<br/>the apparent advantages of the thin approach, I shall argue that they come out as problematic. But, more importantly, despite some more or less obvious advantages, the thin account is inferior to the thicker account in at least some important aspects. First, the thin approach trivializes the substantial debate on whether there are any agent-neutral or agent-relative reasons. Second, it is argued that the thin account implies that agents face endless reasons; if this implication cannot be resisted the thin view appears aesthetically less<br/>appealing than the thick account. The thick account is not flawless, though. At the end, I will discuss a couple of objections to it.},
  author       = {Rønnow-Rasmussen, Toni},
  issn         = {0124-6127},
  keyword      = {Agent-relative reason,Agent-neutral reason,Practical reasons,Facts,John Broome,Thomas Nagel},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {20},
  pages        = {95--113},
  publisher    = {Universidad de Caldas},
  series       = {Discusiones Filosóficas},
  title        = {Reasons and Two Kinds of Fact},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2012},
}