Action and Morality: A Reflection on Thomas Nagel’s and Christine Korsgaard’s Moral Thinking

Marek Pyka

Abstract



Both Thomas Nagel and Christine Korsgaard represent the ethical theory of
practical reasoning of a broadly Kantian type. What for them is constitutive of
human agency is acting for a reason. Focusing on the
normative reasons of an agent, they attempt to ground morality within the nature
of human agency. Central for Nagel’s argument is the distinction between
‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ reasons for action but his position tends towards a
kind of moral realism. Korsgaard, in turn, attempts to explain normativity in
terms of the ‘practical identity’ of an agent, arguing that all reasons for
action must be grounded in the laws that are constitutive for this
‘identity’.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; practical rationality; moral realism; moral constructivism; foundation of moral theory; normative reason for action

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