University of North Texas

 Department of Philosophy
and Religion Studies


Ulrik Birk Nissen

Aarhus University, Denmark


Moral Reason, Behavior Rationality,
and Environment

Human action can be rational in two different ways: it can be principle oriented or preference satisfaction oriented. The former can be called behavior rationality; the latter can be classified as moral reason. I examine whether the differences between these forms of rationality imply that they exclude one another, and whether the same action can motivated by both of them. If the latter, another question arises: what consequences does a combined rationality have for the actions of humans with regard to nature and environment? I discuss the possibility of including the protection of nature in John Rawls' political theory in his Political Liberalism in the context of the positions taken by Peter Wenz and Mark Sagoff. I suggest that Sagoff's distinction between a reasonable and a methodical rationality makes it possible to read environmental issues into Rawls' political theory.



3:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 9, 1999


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