By Pascal Engel
Simon Blackburn has shown that there is an analogy between the problem of moral motivation in ethics (how can moral reasons move us?) and the problem of what we might call the power of logical reasons (how can logical reasons move us, what is the force of the ‘logical must?’). In this paper, I explore further the parallel between the internalism problem in ethics and the problem of the power of logical reasons, and defend a version of psychologism about reasons, although not one of the Humean form. I discuss two forms of cognitivism: (i) a pure cognitivism and ‘hard’ realism modelled after Dancy’s parallel conception in ethics: when we grasp logical reasons we grasp facts, which are directly known to us; (ii) a Kantian form of cognitivism, based on the idea that compulsion by reason goes with the capacity of reflection. I argue that (i) is implausible, and that (ii) fails to meet the internalist requirement. One would then seem to be left with what Dancy calls, about practical reasoning, psychologism about reasons. I sketch what might be such a psychologism. But it fails to account for the objectivity of logical reasons. I argue that the relevant state here is a form of dispositional knowledge of logical reasons.
[Full article available here]