Gin, tonic, and internal reasons

Idag har jag läst ett par artiklar av Bernard Williams. Jag letar efter användbara kopplingar mellan Williams och Hume. I sina politisk-filosofiska texter refererar inte Williams explicit till Hume, men min tes är att det finns intressanta paralleller. Ett första steg är skissera ett svar på den enklare frågan vilka likheter som finns vad gäller moralfilosofi.

En artikel som jag just läst är ‘Internal and external reasons’ i Williams’ Moral Luck (1981). Skälet är naturligtvis att Hume förknippas med internalism, ja han är väl urtypen för detta synsätt. I Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy beskriver man angående denna fråga både ”the humean theory of reasons” och ”the humean theory of motivation”. De lyder som följer:

HTR: If there is a reason for someone to do something, then she must actually have some desire that would be served by her doing it.

HTM: Desires are necessary and beliefs are not sufficient for motivation

Med detta i åtanke läste jag Williams artikel. Även om jag inte fick något särskilt uppslag eller givande idé så var det en trevlig artikel. Här är ett smakprov:

The simplest model for the internal interpretation would be this: A has a reason to [do] ø iff A has some desire the satisfaction of which will be served by his ø-ing. Alternatively, we might say . . . some desire, the satisfaction of which A believes will be served by his ø-ing. […]

Basically, and by definition, any model for the internal interpretation must display a relativity of the reason statement to the agent’s subjective motivational set, which I shall call the agent’s S. The contents of S we shall come to, but we can say:

(i) An internal reason statement is falsified by the absence of some appropriate element from S.

The simplest sub-Humean model claims that any element in S gives rise to an internal reason. But there are grounds for denying this, not because of regrettable, imprudent, or deviant elements in S – they raise different sorts of issue – but because of elements in S based on false belief.

The agent believes that this stuff is gin, when it is in fact petrol. He wants a gin and tonic. Has he reason, or a reason, to mix this stuff with tonic and drink it? There are two ways here […]. On the one hand, it is just very odd to say that he has a reason to drink this stuff, and natural to say that he has no reason to drink it, although he thinks that he has. On the other hand, if he does drink it, we not only have an explanation of his doing so (a reason why he did it), but we have such an explanation which is of the reason-for-action form. This explanatory dimension is very important, and we shall come back to it more than once. If there are reasons for action, it must be that people sometimes act for those reasons, and if they do, their reasons must figure in some correct explanation of their action […]. The difference between false and true beliefs on the agent’s part cannot alter the form of the explanation which will be appropriate to his action.

Williams, Bernard (1981), Moral Luck. Philosophical Papers 1973-1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), s. 101-102.

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