PHI368 Practical Reason and the Foundation of Normativity


Many people think that it is in terms of reasons that we justify all other practical requirements. It is by appeal to reasons that we justify our actions, our moral obligations and maybe even our emotions. If this is right then at the foundations of ethics of political philosophy, and of any other decision we make about how to live our lives, lie the question ‘what reasons do we have’?

In this module we will explore the idea of a reason. We will try to figure out what is this thing called a reason? What methods there are for discovering our reasons? Whether there are reasons that apply to everyone? Can we understand reasons in terms of more fundamental non-normative facts? Do reasons have the force to motivate us? What is the connection between reasons and rational thinking?


Yonatan Shemmer


50% coursework and 50% exam; or one long essay (100%)

Lectures - Spring 2018

Monday 1-3pm - Broad Lane Block Lecture Theatre 10


Tuesday 12 noon-1pm - 38 Mappin Street G03