As ethical beings possessed of second nature, except for a few very spontaneous acts, we always have reasons for what we say and do. We hope they are good reasons.
Ethical merit consists essentially in conscientiousness about the goodness of the reasons that motivate words and deeds and are used to justify them. Such goodness of reasons is never merely formal or technical; it is also social and situational. (See also Commitment; Ends; Reasonableness; Interpretive Charity; Agency; Rational/Talking Animal; Things Said; Rational Ethics; Evaluation of Actions; Intellectual Virtue, Love; Honesty, Kindness.)