Has Smith Solved the Moral Problem?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Michael Smith attempts to solve the moral problem by arguing that our moral beliefs constitute a rational constraint on our desires. In particular, Smith defends the ‘practicality requirement’, which says that rational agents who believe that an action is right must have some desire to perform that action. We clarify and examine Smith’s argument. We argue that, for the argument to be sound, it must make two crucial assumptions about the rational agent in question: (a) that facts about her desires are transparent to her, and (b) that she believes that she is rational. We conclude that if Smith has solved the moral problem then he has done so only for a restricted class of subjects—those who satisfy these two assumptions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Analytica
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2019

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  • DP110101810

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title = "Has Smith Solved the Moral Problem?",
abstract = "Michael Smith attempts to solve the moral problem by arguing that our moral beliefs constitute a rational constraint on our desires. In particular, Smith defends the ‘practicality requirement’, which says that rational agents who believe that an action is right must have some desire to perform that action. We clarify and examine Smith’s argument. We argue that, for the argument to be sound, it must make two crucial assumptions about the rational agent in question: (a) that facts about her desires are transparent to her, and (b) that she believes that she is rational. We conclude that if Smith has solved the moral problem then he has done so only for a restricted class of subjects—those who satisfy these two assumptions.",
keywords = "Metaethics, Michael Smith, The incoherence argument, The moral problem",
author = "Wylie Breckenridge and Daniel Cohen",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
day = "16",
doi = "10.1007/s12136-019-00384-2",
language = "English",
journal = "Acta Analytica",
issn = "0353-5150",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

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Has Smith Solved the Moral Problem? / Breckenridge, Wylie; Cohen, Daniel.

In: Acta Analytica, 16.03.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Has Smith Solved the Moral Problem?

AU - Breckenridge, Wylie

AU - Cohen, Daniel

PY - 2019/3/16

Y1 - 2019/3/16

N2 - Michael Smith attempts to solve the moral problem by arguing that our moral beliefs constitute a rational constraint on our desires. In particular, Smith defends the ‘practicality requirement’, which says that rational agents who believe that an action is right must have some desire to perform that action. We clarify and examine Smith’s argument. We argue that, for the argument to be sound, it must make two crucial assumptions about the rational agent in question: (a) that facts about her desires are transparent to her, and (b) that she believes that she is rational. We conclude that if Smith has solved the moral problem then he has done so only for a restricted class of subjects—those who satisfy these two assumptions.

AB - Michael Smith attempts to solve the moral problem by arguing that our moral beliefs constitute a rational constraint on our desires. In particular, Smith defends the ‘practicality requirement’, which says that rational agents who believe that an action is right must have some desire to perform that action. We clarify and examine Smith’s argument. We argue that, for the argument to be sound, it must make two crucial assumptions about the rational agent in question: (a) that facts about her desires are transparent to her, and (b) that she believes that she is rational. We conclude that if Smith has solved the moral problem then he has done so only for a restricted class of subjects—those who satisfy these two assumptions.

KW - Metaethics

KW - Michael Smith

KW - The incoherence argument

KW - The moral problem

U2 - 10.1007/s12136-019-00384-2

DO - 10.1007/s12136-019-00384-2

M3 - Article

JO - Acta Analytica

JF - Acta Analytica

SN - 0353-5150

ER -