16 Pages

Reasons Internalism

ByErrol Lord, David Plunkett

The last several decades have seen normative reasons come to the theoretical fore all across normative philosophy, especially in ethics and epistemology. To use the orthodox introductory gloss, normative reasons are considerations that count in favor of various reactions; for example, acts, beliefs, intentions, desires, emotions, etc. (see Scanlon 1998). As the label “normative reasons” suggests, the basic job description of normative reasons is a normative one, e.g., to justify a given reaction. This is in contrast to a descriptive one, e.g., to explain why that reaction happened, which is the core job description of motivating reasons. Within ethics, philosophers have focused chiefly on normative reasons for action or intention. Such normative reasons are central to thinking about practical reasoning about what to do, as opposed to theoretical reasoning about what to believe. Hence, one might call them “practical normative reasons.” Practical normative reasons are our focus. For ease of exposition, we will use “normative reasons” to refer to specifically practical normative reasons, unless we note otherwise.