Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy and Public Affairs
© 2012 Sara E. Stern
I consider Derek Parfit's claim that our partial and impartial reasons are only roughly commensurable. Parfit's philosophy draws heavily on Henry Sidgwick's dualism of practical reason, and I examine how well Parfit's arguments in Reasons and Persons and On What Matters handle the difficulties that come with Sidgwick's dualism. I also defend Parfit's conclusions against Allen Wood's accusation that he relies on intuitions about cases that lack morally relevant information. This charge overlooks the more fundamental differences in their two moral theories. I conclude that if we accept Parfit's conception of what reasons we have, we ought to accept his further claim that our fundamental reasons cannot be weighed against one another. If this is the case, we will always have sufficient reason to be both moral and self-interested in most situations.
Stern, Sara E., "What We Have Reason to Do: Comparing Our Moral and Rational Requirements" (2012). CMC Senior Theses. 420.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff. It is not available for interlibrary loan. Please send a request for access through Contact Us.