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Commonsense ConsequentialismWherein Morality Meets Rationality$
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Douglas W. Portmore

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794539.001.0001

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The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons

The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons

(p.56) 3 The Teleological Conception of Practical Reasons
Commonsense Consequentialism

Douglas W. Portmore

Oxford University Press

The chapter argues that since our actions are the means by which we affect the way the world goes, and since our intentional actions aim at making the world go a certain way, we should hold that what agents have most reason to do is to act so as to make the world go as they have most reason to want it to go. More precisely, an agent's reasons for action are a function of her reasons for preferring certain possible worlds to others, such that what she has most reason to do is to bring about the possible world, which of all she can actualize through her actions, is the one that she has most reason to want to be actual. This is what's known as the teleological conception of practical reasons, and it is argued that this view is unsurpassed in its ability to systematize our considered convictions about practical reasons.

Keywords:   teleology, practical reasons, buck-passing, desires, value, desirability, T. M. Scanlon, Elizabeth Anderson

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