Advanced

Normative Reasons and the Agent-neutral/Relative Dichotomy

Rønnow-Rasmussen, Toni LU (2009) In Philosophia 37. p.227-243
Abstract
The distinction between the agent-relative and the agent-neutral plays a prominent role in recent attempts to taxonomize normative theories. Its importance extends to most areas in practical philosophy, though. Despite its popularity, the distinction remains difficult to get a good grip on. In part this has to do with the fact that there is no consensus concerning the sort of objects to which we should apply the distinction. Thomas Nagel distinguishes between agent-neutral and agent-relative values, reasons, and principles; Derek Parfit focuses on normative theories (and the aims they provide to agents), David McNaughton and Piers Rawling focus on rules and reasons, Skorupski on predicates, and there are other suggestions too. Some writers... (More)
The distinction between the agent-relative and the agent-neutral plays a prominent role in recent attempts to taxonomize normative theories. Its importance extends to most areas in practical philosophy, though. Despite its popularity, the distinction remains difficult to get a good grip on. In part this has to do with the fact that there is no consensus concerning the sort of objects to which we should apply the distinction. Thomas Nagel distinguishes between agent-neutral and agent-relative values, reasons, and principles; Derek Parfit focuses on normative theories (and the aims they provide to agents), David McNaughton and Piers Rawling focus on rules and reasons, Skorupski on predicates, and there are other suggestions too. Some writers suspect that we fundamentally talk about one and the same distinction. This work is about practical reasons for action rather than theoretical reasons for belief. Moreover, focus is on whether reasons do or do not essentially refer to particular agents. A challenge that undermines the dichotomy in this sense is posed. After having rejected different attempts to defend the distinction, it is argued that there is a possible defence that sets out from Jonathan Dancy’s recent distinction between enablers and favourers. (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 - Agent-neutral - Reasons - Motivating reasons - Justifying reasons- Normative reasons - Apparent reasons - Dancy - Favourer - Enabler
in
Philosophia
volume
37
pages
227 - 243
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000265826500005
  • scopus:65549137548
ISSN
0048-3893
DOI
10.1007/s11406-008-9164-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0d81615e-46a7-4cb1-8a38-068654283138 (old id 789461)
date added to LUP
2008-01-29 09:56:28
date last changed
2017-05-14 04:01:02
@article{0d81615e-46a7-4cb1-8a38-068654283138,
  abstract     = {The distinction between the agent-relative and the agent-neutral plays a prominent role in recent attempts to taxonomize normative theories. Its importance extends to most areas in practical philosophy, though. Despite its popularity, the distinction remains difficult to get a good grip on. In part this has to do with the fact that there is no consensus concerning the sort of objects to which we should apply the distinction. Thomas Nagel distinguishes between agent-neutral and agent-relative values, reasons, and principles; Derek Parfit focuses on normative theories (and the aims they provide to agents), David McNaughton and Piers Rawling focus on rules and reasons, Skorupski on predicates, and there are other suggestions too. Some writers suspect that we fundamentally talk about one and the same distinction. This work is about practical reasons for action rather than theoretical reasons for belief. Moreover, focus is on whether reasons do or do not essentially refer to particular agents. A challenge that undermines the dichotomy in this sense is posed. After having rejected different attempts to defend the distinction, it is argued that there is a possible defence that sets out from Jonathan Dancy’s recent distinction between enablers and favourers.},
  author       = {Rønnow-Rasmussen, Toni},
  issn         = {0048-3893},
  keyword      = {Agent-relative - Agent-neutral - Reasons - Motivating reasons - Justifying reasons- Normative reasons - Apparent reasons - Dancy - Favourer - Enabler},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {227--243},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Philosophia},
  title        = {Normative Reasons and the Agent-neutral/Relative Dichotomy},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11406-008-9164-2},
  volume       = {37},
  year         = {2009},
}