If you have a moral duty to do something, does it necessarily follow that you have a reason to do it? Contrary to most moral philosophers, I contend that the answer is “no.” I defend the view that morality and practical rationality are independent systems of normative evaluation. Thus, there can be a moral reason that an agent should do X, while the agent has no practical reason to do X. This view is supported by three sets of considerations: (1) intuitions about the possibility of rational evil, (2) the common experience of being alienated from one’s moral duties, and (3) the fact that moral norms have the function of promoting behaviors that are group-beneficial, but not necessarily beneficial to any particular individual.
Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Thursday, 3 May 2012
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 Level 5)
Speaker: Andres Luco, Assistant Professor, Philosophy Group, Nanyang Technological University
Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson
About the Speaker: Andres Luco is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Group at Nanyang Technological University. He has previously taught philosophy at North Carolina State University and the University of Cape Town.