Tag Archives: Reasons

How to distinguish public and non-public reasons?

Jaffro, L. (2020). Comment distinguer raisons publiques et raisons non publiques? The Tocqueville Review., 41(1), 41-53. https://doi.org/10.3138/ttr.41.1.41

The paper discusses the distinction between two kinds of reasons, public and non-public, which plays a major role in the way John Rawls sought to respond to communitarian criticisms, and which Catherine Audard revisits to advocate a political philosophy that confronts what she calls cultural fragmentation. Should public reasons be conceived as being of an argumentative nature, quite different from that of non-public reasons? Or should we consider that the difference is primarily between their objects, and contrast the adoption of a policy or line of conduct with beliefs and valuations that may also respond to reasons?

Passing the Buck on Values: Parfit and Reasons Fundamentalism

Jaffro, L. (2019). Passing the Buck on Values: Parfit and Reasons Fundamentalism. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 102(2). https://doi.org/10.3917/rmm.192.0051 

Derek Parfit borrows from T.M. Scanlon his reasons fundamentalism—that is, the idea that the role that defenders of value realism assign to values should be reassigned to reasons. If we follow Parfit in distinguishing between reasons as normative facts and the normatively important facts that give these reasons, a question inevitably arises: How can facts provide reasons? Are reasons to be understood as supervening on natural facts, or as grounded on nonevaluative properties? Or should we understand this relationship differently? Addressing some of the gaps in Parfit’s work on the metaphysics of morality, this paper tackles the issue from an epistemological rather than an ontological point of view.

Moral Judgement and Persistent Disagreement

L. Jaffro (2019). Jugement moral et désaccord persistant. Archives de Philosophie, 82(2), 233-253. https://www.cairn.info/revue-archives-de-philosophie-2019-2-page-233.htm

The aim is to clarify the conditions of real disagreement in the epistemology of moral judgements. It would seem that moral subjectivists can deal with disagreement more easily than realists. The former can refer disagreement to the diversity of individual or social preferences that evaluations express. The latter have difficulties to account for it in contexts where the informational conditions of an evaluation are met. The paper defends a third approach, attentive to the epistemology of evaluation, which puts the emphasis on how moral value judgements are essentially dependent on reasons. In morality as in other areas, judging is, among other things, assuming responsibility for a verdict that is susceptible of being justified.

Are Moral Reasons Response-Dependent?

L. Jaffro, Are Moral Reasons Response-Dependent? (2015). Philinq—Philosophical Inquiries (ETS), 3(2), 17-34.

Some moral realists draw on the analogy between colours and values in order to claim that ‘desirability’ is a quality to which agents are sensitive under ideal conditions. The paper sets out objections to Michael Smith’s view that moral reasons are response-dependent and that they constitute the kind of reasons which would motivate ideal agents. The agent’s response to what appears to him or her morally desirable or morally mandatory is not a response in the same sense that our perception of a colour is a response to a disposition in the object to produce that perception. For a responsible agent appreciates values and reasons in the light of a plurality of moral considerations.