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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The giving of reasons is a way of making sense of what we do, both to ourselves and to others. Three kinds of reason are distinguished: reasons for doing something, reasons to do something, and reasons why we do something. Following a suggestion of Bernard Williams, it is argued that reasons for doing something must key into our actual or potential motivational repertoire. Environmental commitment is a case in point. By inviting us to “regard” land as a community, for example, Aldo Leopold is attempting to promote such commitment by inviting us to share his motivational repertoire. Alternative attempts that appeal to features such as intrinsic value, a caring ethic, and the requirements of human flourishing are briefly discussed but are found wanting. The chapter concludes with a sketch of how environmental commitment might be more effectively keyed into our quest for meaning.

Keywords: practical reasons, environmental commitment, internalism, externalism, the land ethic, motivational repertoire, meaningful relationships

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