عنوان مقاله [English]
Bernard Williams in his “Internal and External Reasons” argues for internalism about reasons. He holds that according to internalism of reasons, agent A has reason to Φ if and only if he has a desire ψ which will be satisfied by Φ-ing and he also believes that it is so. Williams maintains that if one does not have a preceding desire and cannot form any desires through deliberation then it will be rational to claim that he does not have reason to Φ. Clearly desires play a crucial role here because if an agent does not have such desires, then he does not have reasons for action. Williams goes beyond this claim and says only internal reasons are reasons for action. In this article, we argue against his claim. After explaining descriptive and normative senses of rationality and alternative views regarding the rationality of beliefs and desires, in virtue of the idea of blameworthiness, responsibility, and having practical reason, we show that there are a set of actions for which moral agents are blameworthy and they, therefore, have reasons at least for certain actions which are not dependent upon their desires. This idea would be supported by the facts that most people consider a person who violates hedonic, prudential, and moral norms as much as possible to be irrational, that they consider the act of counting him as rational to be counterintuitive, and finally that societies have founded institutions for restraining such a person.
Our argument from blameworthiness can be formulated as follows:
(1) If a moral agent performs an action X for which he can justly be blamed, then he will be responsible and he ought not to perform X (the concept of blameworthiness entails responsibility).
(2) If a moral agent is responsible and he ought not to perform X, then there is a reason for him not to perform X (responsibility entails having reason).
(3) There are a set of actions, S, that moral agents can be justly blamed for performing.
(4) So moral agents are responsible for performing an action in S (from 1 and 3).
(5) So there are reasons for moral agents not to perform an action in S (from 2 and 4).
By falsifying the negation of premise (3), we show that (3) is true. To falsify that it is not the case that there are actions for which moral agents can be justly blamed, we presented an example of an extremely immoral, imprudent, and pain-seeking agent who forms abnormal desires and acts against moral, prudent, and hedonic norms as much as possible. Since there are not any desires for such norms in his psychology, and his actions are based on these desires, he is not regarded as rational by most people and social institutions such as psychiatric clinics and courts. In addition, it would be irrational to hold that he is rational in his having immoral, imprudent, and pain-seeking desires and acting accordingly because it is a rational, prevalent, conventional practice to believe so and any theory which denies its rationality should provide convincing reasons.