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Moral Requirements are still not Rational Requirements

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JournalAnalysis
DatePublished - 1999
Issue number3
Volume59
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)127-136
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Michael Smith argued that the truism that we legitimately expect agents to do what they are morally required to do could only be explained if moral requirements were requirements of reason. I argue that this is not so. Moral requirements may count as reasons for an agent S if they have the relevant perceptual capacity or inculcated desires. Moral rationalism only appears superior if one assumes that rational agency is indivisible. I argue further that Smith does not explain the legitimacy of our expectations because he fails to distinguish between sagacity and rationality. It is not legitimate to expect agents to be sagacious.

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