Reasons and Decay: Still Too Many Reasons



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



A central question in the theory of practical reasons is about the sources of normativity: about where, if anywhere, our reasons for action ultimately come from. One popular view says that human conation is the source of our reasons. This view says normative reasons are grounded in desire, with "desire" standing for any motivating state ranging from our preferences and whims to our values and emotional proclivities. This thesis challenges the desire-based theory of reasons. A standard worry with the theory points to a discontinuity between desires and reasons. The worry is that we have many desires which don't intuitively track corresponding reasons, that there are fewer reasons for action than there are desires. Desires come cheap and practical reasons don't. So if reasons flow from desire, the desire-based theory may make erroneous predictions. Desires may give us reasons to do things that we, in fact, don't have any reasons to do. My thesis offers a novel defense of this extensional problem.