Being Apart from Reasons: The Role of Reasons in Public and Private Moral Decision-Making

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Springer Science & Business Media, Mar 9, 2006 - Philosophy - 194 pages
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Being Apart from Reasons deals with the question of how we should go about using reasons to decide what to do. More particularly, the book presents objections to the most common response given by contemporary legal and political theorists to the moral complexity of decision-making in modern societies, namely: the attempt to release public agents from their argumentative burden by insulating a particular set of reasons from the general pool of reasons and assigning the former systematic priority over all other reasons. If those attempts succeed, public agents should not reason comprehensively, taking into account all reasons and weighing them against one another. Some reasons would be excluded from decision-making by kind.

That strategy is apparent both in Rawls’ claim that reasons concerning the right are systematically prior to reasons concerning the good and in Raz’s claim that pre-emptive reasons are systematically prior to first-order reasons. The same strategy is also instantiated by certain arguments for the procedural value of law, such as Jeremy Waldron’s. In the book, each of those arguments for the insulation of reasons is objected to in order to defend the thesis the reasoning by public agents must always be as comprehensive as possible.

In order to reach that conclusion a particular picture of public decision-making in needed. That picture in provided by the comparison between the use of reasons in public and private decision-making which is carried out in the first two chapters of the book. That comparison brings to light peculiar features of public decision-making that imply the need for public agents to reason comprehensively before deciding. The remaining chapters object to those arguments mentioned above which aim at justifying the exclusion of certain reasons from public agent’s decision-making.

 

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Worth reading for its very interesting discussion of reason-giving in public (politics and law, essentially) and private (personal) contexts.

Contents

MORAL ACTION REASON AND INCLINATION
13
ANTECEDENTS OF ACTION
14
THEORIES OF MERCY
20
CAUSALITY AND MORAL ACTION
25
INTENSIONALITY UNIVERSALS AND PARTICULARS
36
THE VALUE OF MORAL ACTION AND THE VALUE OF MORAL LIFE
40
MORAL CERTAINTY AND THE WEIGHT OF ONES OWN MORAL SUCCESS
46
A SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
49
LEGAL AND NONLEGAL REASONS IN THE COMMON GROUND OF DELIBERATION
109
AUTHORITY AND AUTONOMOUS DECISIONMAKING
111
REASONS FOR DECISION AND REASONS FOR ACTION
114
PREEMPTION IN LEGAL REASONING
117
FORMAL REASONS
134
CONCLUSION
139
THE PROCEDURAL VALUE OF LAW AND THE INSULATION BETWEEN LEGAL AND MORAL REASONS FOR ACTION
141
THE PROCEDURAL VALUE OF LEGAL REASONING
143

REASONING IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE CONTEXTS
51
PUBLIC AGENTS DIRTY HANDS
52
CONCLUSION
74
EXCURSUS ON THE MERCIFUL ACTIONS PERFORMED IN THE EXERCISE OF PUBLIC ROLES
76
NEUTRALIST PUBLIC LIBERALISM AND THE INSULATION OF THE RIGHT FROM THE GOOD
79
IMPARTIALITY AND SYSTEMATIC PROIORITY
80
THE TWO STRATEGIES TO JUSTIFY THE ABSOLUTE PRIORITY OF THE RIGHT OVER THE GOOD
87
THE INTERNAL CONNECTION ARGUMENT
90
THE OBJECTIVITY ARGUMENT
93
PUBLIC LIBERAL NEUTRALISM AND THE CRITICAL PROJECT
101
FINAL WORDS
105
WALDRONS ARGUMENT FOR THE IMPERFECT PROCEDURAL VALUE OF LEGISLATION
148
DISCOURSE THEORY AND THE PROCEDURAL VALUE OF LAW
153
About whether or not Alexys conception of legal reasoning as a pure procedure implies the insulation of legal reasons from moral reasons
154
Habermas and the cooriginality of law and morals
161
CONCLUSION
173
THE ARGUMENT TO PROVE THE FIRST THESIS
174
THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE SECOND THESIS
176
REFERENCES
181
INDEX
187
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