David Olbrich (UCL) - 2015-16 Students

Obligation and Practical Necessity

It has often been thought that morality is authoritative: moral requirements motivate the correctly oriented agent to act as they demand. This thought requires further explanation: in particular, what does it mean in this context to be ‘correctly oriented’? I’m interested in answering this question, but I also think that what is at issue is not just the motivation to do what is required, but a particular kind of motivation. It is not even a live possibility for the correctly oriented agent that they do something other than what is required; furthermore the correctly oriented agent never feels alienated from what they are required to do. I aim to explore what makes this style of motivation possible. Finally, I aim to explore what accounts of the authority of morality make it plausible that morality is actually authoritative in the ways they suggest.

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