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Weighing Reasons$
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Errol Lord and Barry Maguire

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199315192

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199315192.001.0001

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Democratizing Humeanism

Democratizing Humeanism

(p.123) 6 Democratizing Humeanism
Weighing Reasons

Kate Manne

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Humean or desire-based theories of reasons, and sketches a novel “Democratic” alternative to a standard, agent-centered Humean view. According to Democratic Humeanism, any subject’s desires can in principle give rise to reasons for action for any agent. It is argued that reasons should be construed, on this picture, as consisting in desires that some agent do something on behalf of some subject, in service of one of the subject’s ends (and where the agent and the subject may, but need not, be one and the same person). During the second half of the chapter, a suitable theory of the weight of reasons for Democratic Humeanism is developed. It is argued that the weight of a reason should be held to be proportional to the depth or fundamentality, rather than the strength or phenomenological intensity, of the desire that constitutes this reason.

Keywords:   Humean, theories of reasons, desires, reasons for action, weight of reasons, proportionalism

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