Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:523
Posts / Week:1.3
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Williams on Internal and External Reasons - Part 4

The following two statements appear in Bernard Williams' "Internal and external reasons" (iv) internal reason statements can be discovered in deliberative reasoning. and he deliberative process can add new actions for which here areShow More Summary

Williams on Internal and External Reasons - Part 3

I am trying to work out a if Bernard Williams, in “Internal and External Reasons” (in Moral Luck, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, 101–13), believed that beliefs provide reasons for action. I would argue that they do not....Show More Summary

Williams on Internal and External Reasons - Part II

If a person is thirsty, and has a false belief that a glass is filled with clean water, does he have a reason to drink from the glass? My answer is, "Obviously not. The agent has a false beliefs that he has reason to drink from the glass." This...Show More Summary

The New Atheism

A question has come up as to whether I would be included in the category called "New Atheists". I believe that I would not qualify - for reasons I will discuss below. However, I also do not fit in with what might be understood as the...Show More Summary

Williams on Internal and External Reasons - Part 1

If we are going to discuss internal and external reasons, then we must tackle Bernard Williams' "Internal and External Reasons" ( Williams, B., 1979. “Internal and External Reasons,” reprinted in Moral Luck, Cambridge: Cambridge University...Show More Summary

Ditching the Word 'Hypocrite'

Rob Bensinger wants us to " Ditch the word 'hypocrite '" He has a well organized post listing reasons to do so which can well seem compelling. Yet, I am not convinced. The first thing we should do is define the term ‘hypocrite’. Bensinger seems to think that a hypocrite is a person whose actions do not conform to his stated principles. Show More Summary

Williams vs. Darwall on Practical Reasons

The following quote comes from Darwall, S. 2001. "Because I want it." Social Philosophy and Policy 18: 129–153. What we should say is that the imperatives or prescriptions that follow from instrumental reasoning are imperatives of practical consistency. Show More Summary

"The Constitution is Not Negotiable"

Recently I have noticed several people use the slogan, “The Constitution is Not Negotiable” in defense of their position on particular issues. I saw it in an article where the quote was attributed to Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, who was killed...Show More Summary

Condemnation of the Intellectually Reckless

If a community descends into immorality, then it will suffer he consequences. Coming from me, that should be nearly axiomatic since morality is substantially concerned with what benefits and avoiding what harms people generally within a community. Show More Summary

Evil: The Gap Between Practical and Moral Reasons

Evil is measured by he distance between practical "ought" and moral "ought". I have written extensively (and in some technical detail) about reasons for intentional action - and about what it means to say that a person ought to do something. Ultimately,...Show More Summary

HR 2262: Ownership of Space Resources

On November 25, 2015, something happened that almost nobody noticed but which, I expect, will prove to be an extremely important event for the future of humanity. And not in a good way. For all practical purposes, on that day, President Obama gave the richest people on earth complete and total ownership of every asteroid in the solar system. Show More Summary

Williams vs. Mackie on Practical Reason - A Correction

Upon reflection, I have reached my conclusion that my criticism of Phillips criticism of Williams' argument for internalism was not entirely fair. Phillips placed his objections to Williams in the context of a dilemma. Either Williams...Show More Summary

Williams vs Mackie on Practical Reasons

J.L. Mackie has a better theory of practical reasons than Bernard Williams. This is the claim that David Phillips attempts to support in "Mackie on Practical Reason" (in Philosophical Studies Series, A World Without Values, Essays on...Show More Summary

What Should I Do? A Summary of Recent Postings on Internal and External Reasons

I just finished a fine digression discussing the article Reasons for Action: Internal and External Reasons in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - and made a number of comments. I suppose that I should start with a matter on which I apparently currently disagree with most philosophers writing on the subject today. Show More Summary

What Should I Do? Desires Sufficient for Reasons

Today I am going to argue against something that the bulk of philosophers who write on reasons for action seem to accept. The claim is that "Desires are a necessary requirement for reasons; but they are not sufficient." I will argue that having a desire is a sufficient condition for having a reason. Show More Summary

What Should I Do? What Reactive Attitudes Tell Us About Reasons for Action

First, a quick reminder regarding context and relevance. You want to know what to do. You want to know what reasons count as legitimate reasons for doing one thing rather than another. "Is this a good reason for doing A rather than B?"...Show More Summary

What Should I Do? Rational Motivation

In examining this issue of "what should I do", one commonly encounters people talking about counterfactual motivation. There is, on this account, a distinction between what would fulfill an agent's actual desires, and what would fulfill...Show More Summary

What Should I Do? "A Central Problem in Ethics"

In order to refresh my understanding if the issues regarding internal and external reasons, I turned to the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - an extremely valuable online resource. I sought an article called: Reasons for Action: Internal vs. Show More Summary

The Poorest of the Poor

A second problem that I have with Bernie Sanders' campaign to be President is his utter lack of concern for the well-being of the poor. Earlier, I wrote about Sanders' use of the "politics of other" to promote his candidacy. This is a campaign tactic where a candidate identifies some group to identify as "other". Show More Summary

What Should I Do?: Having a Reason vs. There Exists a Reason

The next article in the series on J.L. Mackie's Ethics will concern the huge topic of "practical reason". David Phillips, in "Mackie on Practical Reason" ( in Philosophical Studies Series, A World Without Values, Essays on John Mackie's...Show More Summary

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