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Rights, Culture and the LawThemes from the Legal and Political Philosophy of Joseph Raz$
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Lukas H. Meyer, Stanley L. Paulson, and Thomas W. Pogge

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248254

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248254.001.0001

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Stronger Reasons

Stronger Reasons

(p.17) 2 Stronger Reasons
Rights, Culture and the Law


Oxford University Press

It is commonly believed that reasons are normative, which seems to entail: ‘What you have reason to do, you ought to do’. This may be amended to: ‘What you have strongest reason to do, you ought to do’. The emphasis is on strongest reason, not the strongest reason. One may have the strongest reason (among all the reasons available) for doing one thing, but he or she has strongest reason to do another. The idea is that in this case, one ought to take the latter course of action. However, it is not clear what the sentence ‘What you have strongest reason to do, you ought to do’ means. This chapter discusses Joseph Raz's explication of this and argues that it is not satisfactory. It then offers a better one and discusses its implications for the supposed normativity of reasons. Harry Frankfurt's ideas about caring are also considered, along with issues of conflict and incommensurability with respect to reasons.

Keywords:   Joseph Raz, reasons, normativity, stronger reason, Harry Frankfurt, conflict, incommensurability

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