A leading approach in ethics takes the reason as in some sense primary or basic. This approach claims that a range of moral concepts – goodness, rightness, obligation, and so on – are ultimately to be cashed out in terms of reasons. Although this approach is controversial among metaethicists, it is among the leading proposals in the field.
However, a “reasons first” approach is generally absent in the neighboring normative discipline of epistemology. This is despite the fact that epistemology has had plenty of controversy about what is epistemically basic. In Reasons First (Oxford University Press 2021), Mark Schroeder develops a compelling version of reasons first epistemology, showing that epistemology has much to gain from adopting it.
Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.