Update: Blogger's new recover post feature might also help out here.
Normative reasons apparently come in different varieties. Some are attractive or aspirational, recommending actions in a way that leaves the agent some scope to ignore their claims; other reasons - including those at the center of morality - seem peremptory, demanding compliance in a way that the agent has no discretion to ignore. This paper offers an interpretation of the distinction between what I call aspirational and deontic normativity, paying special attention to the moral realm. I suggest that deontic reasons are grounded in principles that specify reciprocal normative claims, structuring our relationships to other agents. Some conceptions of morality seem much better suited than others to accommodate this distinctive kind of deontic normativity, a thesis I defend by contrasting consequentialist and contractualist approaches.
(a) The consideration that grounds my reasons gives someone else a special claim or entitlement to performance on my part.
(b) The consideration that grounds my reasons renders someone else specially vulnerable to being wronged or injured in the case of nonperformance on my part.
If I discount or neglect my moral reason not to harm someone, for example... I will not merely have acted wrongly, by the terms of a normative standard that applies to my own conduct, but wronged the person I have harmed, insofar as my action will not be justifiable to that person on grounds that it would be reasonable for the person to accept.
It is argued, e.g. by Meinong, that we can speak about “the golden mountain,” “the round square,” and so on; we can make true propositions of which these are the subjects; hence they must have some kind of logical being, since otherwise the propositions in which they occur would be meaningless. In such theories, it seems to me, there is a failure of that feeling for reality which ought to be preserved even in the most abstract studies. Logic, I should maintain, must no more admit a unicorn than zoology can; for logic is concerned with the real world just as truly as zoology, though with its more abstract and general features.
logic should be neutral between different positions: a system of logic which was available to logicians of a particular philosophical persuasion only would hardly qualify as a logic.Having said all that I still agree with Russell about his robust sense of reality. Guess I haven’t thought things through or something, but I’m in it for the discussion anyway. (this is my first post so if I've failed at some unspoken rules with blogs then please inform me and i'll attempt to conform in the future)