Internal Reasons and the Conditional Fallacy



Internalists about normative reasons hold that they are necessarily connected to motives. This view is most plausible when it is construed in a conditional form - that there is a reason for one to perform a certain action guarantees that, at least if one were not rationally defective, one would be motivated to perform it. However, the conditional form that renders internalism plausible also renders it vulnerable to the ‘conditional fallacy’. For instance, this conditional form implies that one could have no reason to improve one’s rationality, for if one were already fully rational, one would not be motivated to do so. Most internalists have reformulated internalism to solve this problem. However, I argue that these reformulations fail to maintain the theoretical virtue of the internalist doctrine, namely, the virtue it has of showing how reasons can both explain and justify actions.