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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    AARNIO, AULIS and PECZENIK, ALEKSANDER 1995. Suum Cuique Tribuere. Some Reflections on Law, Freedom and Justice. Ratio Juris, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 142.

    PECZENIK, ALEKSANDER 1994. Law, Morality, Coherence and Truth. Ratio Juris, Vol. 7, Issue. 2, p. 146.

    Donohue, Laura and Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter 1991. 20 YEARS OF MORAL EPISTEMOLOGY: A BIBLIOGRAPHY. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 29, Issue. S1, p. 217.


The No Reason Thesis

  • Judith Jarvis Thomson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2009

Moral theorists often say such things as “But surely A ought to do such and such,” or “Plainly it is morally permissible for B to do so and so,” and do not even try to prove that those judgments are true. Moreover, they often rest weight on the supposition that those judgments are true. In particular, they often rest theories on them: they take them as data.

Others object. They say that nobody is entitled to rest any weight at all on judgments such as those. They say, not that the judgments are false, but that there is no reason to believe them true. They say, more generally, that there is no reason to think of any moral judgment that it is true. I will call this The No Reason Thesis.

Is there reason to think The No Reason Thesis true? There are lots of arguments for it in the literature, but I want to focus on one of them in particular. I think that the one I will focus on lies behind all the others, but no matter if it does not: I suggest that if this argument fails, they all fail.

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John Searle's route from fact to value in his “How to Derive ‘Ought’ From ‘Is’,” Philosophical Review, vol. 73 (1964), pp. 4358.

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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