My thanks to Peter Hylton, Charles Chastain, Anthony Laden, Heather Gert, and Maria Victoria Costa, for comments on earlier drafts. A previous version of this paper was also presented to the faculty of the University of New Hampshire, and I am grateful for comments received there.
Korsgaard's Private-Reasons Argument*
Version of Record online: 29 MAY 2007
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume 64, Issue 2, pages 303–324, March 2002
How to Cite
GERT, J. (2002), Korsgaard's Private-Reasons Argument. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 64: 303–324. doi: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2002.tb00003.x
- Issue online: 29 MAY 2007
- Version of Record online: 29 MAY 2007
- Cited By
In The Sources of Normativity, Christine Korsgaard presents and defends a neo-Kantian theory of normativity. Her initial account of reasons seems to make them dependent upon the practical identity of the agent, and upon the value the agent must place on her own humanity. This seems to make all reasons agent-relative. But Korsgaard claims that arguments similar to Wittgenstein's private-language argument can show that reasons are in fact essentially agent-neutral. This paper explains both of Korsgaard's Wittgen-steinian arguments, and shows why neither of them work. The paper also provides a brief sketch of a different Wingensteinian account of reasons that distinguishes the normative role of justification from that of requirement. On this account, the real agent-neutrality of reasons applies to their justificatory role, but not to their requiring role.