Fall 2008

Seminar: Practical Reasons and Morality

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-64


Nishiten Shah (Section 01)


Lying would get you out of a pinch, but morality requires that you tell the truth. What should you do? Humeans argue that what you have reason to do depends on what you happen to want. Given that your interests are not promoted by doing what morality commands in this case, Humeans thus are likely to claim that it would be irrational to tell the truth. Kantians, on the other hand, typically argue that the commands of morality are the commands of reason itself, and thus that you are rationally obliged to obey morality--to tell the truth--even though it would better serve your interests to lie. Which conception of practical reasons is correct? Requisite: Two courses in Philosophy or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Shah.