SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Moral Worth and the Two Kinds of Reasons Challenge
(Ethics, Englisch)

One of the most influential accounts of 'moral worth' is the so-called 'coincidence thesis' which has been defended by Julia Markovitsin several publications: an action confers moral worth iff the 'motivating reasons' for which the agent performed the action coincide in content, as well as in strength with her 'normative reasons' in favour of acting this way. Several objections have been levelled against Markovits' theory, one of which is the focus of this talk: Joashua Gert has prominently argued that we have to distinguish two kinds of functions and associated weights of reasons. A reason has some degree of 'justificatory weight', as well as 'requiring' weight which can come apart. Now, in a widely neglected paper, Gert uses this distinction to level an objection against the coincidence thesis. First, one has to disambiguate the notion of 'strength' of normative reasons. He takes it to refer to the requiring weight of such reasons. Second, provided that altruistic reasons in supererogatory situations are merely justificatory, we cannot identify the strength of normative reasons Markovits' talks about with the requiring weight.

In my talk, I, first, aim to rebuttal Gert's objection. On the one hand,he does not discuss the option to identify the 'strength' of a normative reason with its justificatory weight. On the other hand,as has been recurrently noted in the literature, Gert's analysis of altruistic reasonsis highly questionable, i.e. they do have considerable amount of demanding weight. Hence, there is no problem for Markovits' theory to accommodate supererogation. Second, I investigate whether one can develop a Gert-inspired objection to the coincidence thesis by using yet another differentiation between two kinds of reasons, i.e. Julian Snedegar's distinction of 'reasons for' and 'reasons against'. Here, I maintain, one should take a different path in order to accommodate Snedegar's ideas: one should equally distinguish between 'motivating reasons' and 'demotivating reasons' which come with their own kind of strength.

Zeit: 10:40-11:10, 09. September 2022 (Freitag)
Ort: SR 1.005

Michael Vollmer
(University of Innsbruck, Österreich)

Testability and Meaning deco