Politics MANCEPT research seminar - Thursday 03 March - Fred Horton - University of Manchester - “Scanlon’s Motivation Problem”
|Dates:||3 March 2016|
|Times:||16:00 - 18:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
The next MANCEPT research seminar will be on Thursday 3 March, when our very own Fred Horton will give a presentation titled “Scanlon’s Motivation Problem”.
The seminar starts at 4pm in the Arthur Lewis Building 2nd floor boardroom.
The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session that will finish at around 5.30pm.
ABSTRACT: I argue that Scanlon’s reliance on a realist conception of reasons for action undermines his contractualist answer to the ‘question of motivation’, that is, what reason does the fact that an action is wrong provide an agent to avoid it? Scanlon’s answer to this is not to be found in any psychological fact about the agent, but rather in the idea that we have reason to want to live according to principles that are justifiable to others who are similarly motivated to find principles for the general regulation of behaviour. So the claim that A has a reason to ?, where ?-ing is some morally required action that is not part of A’s present motivations, is true in virtue of the fact that A has reason to want to live in ways that are justifiable to others.
But if our reasons to be moral are independent of our motivations, and depend on what is justifiable to others, then there must be convergence on what is justifiable. If this were not the case, then we cannot explain how reasons for one agent can become reasons for another. I claim that Scanlon cannot guarantee such convergence without appealing to reasons for action that have truth conditions independent of his procedure for determining what is justifiable to others. If this is correct, then the Scanlon’s explanation of the normative force of moral requirements does not derive exclusively from justifiability, but depends 'external' reasons that have no obvious connection to motivation.
Organisation: Univeristy of Manchester
Travel and Contact Information
2nd floor Boardroom
Arthur Lewis Building