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On What MattersVolume Three$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778608

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198778608.001.0001

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Subjectivist Reasons

Subjectivist Reasons

Chapter:
(p.251) 49 Subjectivist Reasons
Source:
On What Matters
Author(s):

Derek Parfit

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198778608.003.0014

This chapter examines some arguments made in favour of subjectivism. It considers the claim that, if we were fully procedurally rational, we would want to avoid future agony because such agony would interfere with our exercise of our rational capacities. This reply does not explain why we cannot have any reason to want to avoid agony, not as a means of fulfilling some other present desire, but as an end, or for its own sake. There is also the argument that, unless the concept of a reason to have some desire can be reduced to the concept of a reason to have some belief, we cannot have any reasons to have desires. This ingenious argument does not, however, succeed, as the first premise can be plausibly revised to counter the established view on subjectivism. In addition to these arguments, the chapter also explores a different interpretation of these views.

Keywords:   subjectivism, agony, present desire, reason, external reasons, internal reasons

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