Good reasons approach

The Good Reasons approach is a meta-ethical theory that ethical conduct is justified if the actor has good reasons for that conduct. The Good Reasons approach is not opposed to ethical theory per se, but is antithetical to wholesale justifications of morality and stresses that our moral conduct requires no further ontological or other foundation beyond concrete justifications.

It is associated mainly with the ideas of Stephen Toulmin, Jon Wheatley and Kai Nielsen.


  • Toulon, Justin (1950). An Examination of the Place of Reason in Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-09116-0.
  • Nielsen, Kai (April 1959). "The 'Good Reasons Approach' and 'Ontological Justifications' of Morality". The Philosophical Quarterly. Blackwell Publishing. 9 (35): 116–130. doi:10.2307/2216431. JSTOR 2216431.
  • Wheatley, Jon (October 1973). "Ethics Does Not Exist". Ethics. 84 (1): 62–69. doi:10.1086/291903.

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