Maximalism versus omnism about reasons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The performance of one option can entail the performance of another. For instance, I have the option of baking a pie as well as the option of baking, and baking a pie entails baking. Now, suppose that I have both reason to bake and reason to bake a pie. Which, if either, grounds the other? Do I have reason to bake in virtue of my having reason to perform some instance of baking, such as pie baking? Or do I have reason to bake a pie in virtue of my having reason to bake? Or does neither ground the other? Perhaps, the reason in each case is grounded in the fact that each option would itself have optimal consequences. The aim of this paper is to compare two alternative responses to this issue—omnism and maximalism—and to argue that the latter is more plausible. Omnism is the view that what grounds a reason for performing an option is always that it has some feature F (such as that of having optimal consequences). By contrast, maximalism holds that sometimes what grounds a reason for performing an option is not that it is itself F, but that it is entailed by some other option that is F. I’ll argue that maximalism is more plausible, for it avoids two critical problems that befall omnism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Studies
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 16 2016


  • Closure principles
  • Deontic logic
  • Maximalism
  • Morality
  • Omnism
  • Options
  • Performance entailment
  • Rationality
  • Reasons
  • Transitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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