Reason as a Foundation for Morality
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Many Western philosophers have sought to ground morality in reason itself. If successful, this might provide the true moral standards — whatever they turn out to be — with a deep and immutable authority. However, such attempts run into a problem: the “thicker”, more substantive, or already moralized the conception of reason relied on, the more easily it can be rejected by someone who already rejects the moral standards it is supposed to support. Conversely, “thinner”, more straightforwardly instrumental, concepts of reason are unlikely to entail morally interesting conclusions. As a fall-back, we might try grounding morality in mere reasonableness; however, this is unlikely to provide us with a single true morality.
KeywordsKant Michael Smith moral authority rationality reason reasonableness T.M. Scanlon
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