Benjamin Cohen Rossi


The Motivational Constraint says that a consideration is a normative reason for an agent to act only if it is logically possible for the agent to act for that reason, or at least to be moved so to act. Because it is entailed by a number of prominent views about normative reasons, its truth or falsehood has important implications. Mark Schroeder (2007) and Julia Markovits (2014) have criticized the Motivational Constraint for its inconsistency with so-called “elusive reasons.” Elusive reasons are normative reasons that an agent cannot act for. Hille Paakkunainen (2017), Neil Sinclair (2016), and Michael Ridge and Sean McKeever (2012) have offered three strategies for reconciling the Motivational Constraint with elusive reasons. In this paper, I argue that these strategies fail in that conciliatory task. Furthermore, I argue for the existence of a type of elusive reason not heretofore discussed in the literature, and show how these strategies also fail to reconcile this type of elusive reason with the Motivational Constraint.