Reasons and Normativity

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Normative reasons are of constant importance to us as agents trying to navigate through life. For this reason it is natural and vital to ask philosophical questions about reasons and the normative realm. This thesis explores various issues concerning reasons and normativity. The thesis consists of five free-standing
papers and an extended introduction. The aim of the extended introduction is not merely to situate the papers within a wider philosophical context but also to provide an overview of some of the central research questions concerning reasons and normativity. The introduction is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 introduces and outlines the dissertation. Chapter 2 concerns the issue of what a reason is and what different types of reasons there are, such as pro tanto reasons and overall reasons. Chapter 3 discusses the frequently employed weighing metaphor, i.e. that reasons have a certain weight and can be weighed against the weight of other reasons. Chapter 4 covers how reasons relate to other normative notions such as ought, value, and obligation. For example, it discusses whether it is the case that for something to be valuable just is for there to be reasons to favor it. Chapter 5 concludes the introduction by briefly exploring how it all relates.

The thesis can be said to be embedded in a recent research trend within philosophy of normativity that has a distinguished focus on reasons.

The five papers deal with various issues concerning reasons and normativity. Paper I argues for a novel and theoretically parsimonious way to understand background conditions for values and reasons. Paper II explores an interpretation of the distinction between subjectivism and objectivism about reasons and value so as to accommodate that the distinction does not commit either party to certain first order claims about what reasons there are or what makes objects valuable. Paper III discusses the dictum ‘ought implies can’
and how to properly interpret the ‘can’. Paper IV defends principles according to which what we ought and have reasons to do transmit from ends to the necessary means of that action. Paper V analyzes how the Fitting Attitudes analysis of value should best understand degrees of value.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2019 Oct 26
Place of PublicationLund
  • Department of Philosophy, Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-88899-59-0
Electronic ISBNs978-91-88899-60-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2019-10-26 Time: 10:00 Place: LUX B336 External reviewer(s) Name: Reisner, Andrew Title: Docent Affiliation: Uppsala universitet ---

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