In this paper, I defend an account of the reasons for which we act, believe, and so on for any Ф such that there can be reasons for which we Ф. Such reasons are standardly called motivating reasons. I argue that three dominant views of motivating reasons (psychologism, factualism and disjunctivism) all fail to capture the ordinary concept of a motivating reason. I show this by drawing out three constraints on what motivating reasons must be, and demonstrating how each view fails to satisfy at least one of these constraints. I then propose and defend my own account of motivating reasons, which I call the Guise of Normative Reasons Account. On the account I defend, motivating reasons are propositions. A proposition is the reason for which someone Ф-s when (a) she represents that proposition as a normative reason to Ф, and (b) her representation explains, in the right way, her Ф-ing. As I argue, the Guise of Normative Reasons Account satisfies all three constraints on what motivating reasons must be, and weathers several objections that might be leveled against propositionalist views.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science