SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Praktisches Überlegen und die Normative (Un)Bedeutsamkeit von Wünschen
(Ethik & Politische Philosophie, Englisch)

In recent years, desire-based theories of practical reasons have been under

heavy attack. The list of critics includes metaethicists like Scanlon, Darwall, Dancy or Halbig. They argue that desires do not have the normative significance Humeans have commonly been ascribing to them. Instead, reasons are desire-independent. In other words: desires are normatively insignificant.

One common and frequently applied strategy to establish the normative insignificance of desires is a closer analysis of what goes on in our heads during practical deliberation. Following this strategy, critics of desire-based accounts bring up one version or another of, as I will call it, the 'argument from unrealistic practical deliberation':

1. According to desire-based views, practical reasoning only consists in the assessment of our desires and their respective strength.

2. That is a highly unrealistic picture of what goes on during practical reasoning.

3. Therefore, desire-based theories of reasons are false.

Evaluating this argument, my conclusion will be that it is unsound, because it relies on an implausible presupposition itself. More concretely, it is presupposed that desires would have to be consciously reflected upon in order to be normatively significant. This, however, is simply wrong. The metaphysical question 'What is a normative reason?' is independent of any psychological claim about conscious processes during practical deliberation. I will close with a prospect on possibilities to interpret the phenomenology of practical reasoning in the framework of desire-based reasons.

Chair: Christine Schurz
Zeit: 10:45-11:15, 13. September 2013 (Freitag)
Ort: HS 104

Stefan Leber
(Universität Zürich, Schweiz)

Stefan Leber (MA Philosophie). Promotionsstudiengang "Sprache, Geist und Praxis" an der Universität Zürich. 2009 Bachelor in Philosophie. 2012 Master in Philosophie mit einer Arbeit über die Ontologie moralischer Tatsachen.

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