On the connection between normative reasons and the possibility of acting for those reasons
Sinclair, Neil (2016) On the connection between normative reasons and the possibility of acting for those reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 19 (5). pp. 1211-1223. ISSN 1572-8447
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10677-016-9731-8
According to Bernard Williams, if it is true that A has a normative reason to Φ then it must be possible that A should Φ for that reason. This claim is important both because it restricts the range of reasons which agents can have and because it has been used as a premise in an argument for so-called ‘internalist’ theories of reasons. In this paper I rebut an apparent counterexamples to Williams’ claim: Schroeder’s (2007) example of Nate. I argue that this counterexample fails since it underestimates the range of cases where agents can act for their normative reasons. Moreover, I argue that a key motivation behind Williams’ claim is compatible with this ‘expansive’ account of what it is to act for a normative reason.
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