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Practical Reason

Edited by Sergio Tenenbaum (University of Toronto)
Assistant editor: Benjamin Elliott Wald (University of Toronto)
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  1. S. C. A. (1972). In Defense of Practical Reason: A Study and An Application of Arthur Murphy's Theory. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 25 (3):558-558.
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  2. Frederick Adams (1989). Book Review:Intention, Plans and Practical Reason. Michael E. Bratman. [REVIEW] Ethics 100 (1):198-.
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  3. Matthew D. Adler (1999). Ruth Chang, Ed., Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 19 (3):168-171.
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  4. Robert Alexy (1992). A Discourse-Theoretical Conception of Practical Reason. Ratio Juris 5 (3):231-251.
    Contemporary discussions about practical reason or practical rationality invoke four competing views which can be named as follows by reference to their historical models: Aristotelian, Hobbesian, Kantian and Nietzschean. The subject-matter of this article is a defence of the Kantian conception of practical rationality in the interpretation of discourse theory. At the heart, lies the justification and the application of the rules of discourse. An argument consisting of three parts is pre sented to justify the rules of discourse. The three (...)
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  5. D. J. Allan (1964). The Operations of Practical Reason Emmanuel M. Michelakis: Aristotle's Theory of Practical Principles. Pp. 115. Athens: Cleisiounis, 1961. Paper. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 14 (02):152-154.
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  6. Roman Altshuler & Michael J. Sigrist (eds.) (2015). Time and the Philosophy of Action. Routledge.
    Although scholarship in philosophy of action has grown in recent years, there has been little work explicitly dealing with the role of time in agency—a role with great significance for the study of action theory. As the articles in this collection demonstrate, virtually every fundamental issue in the philosophy of action involves considerations of time. The four sections of this volume address the metaphysics of action, diachronic practical rationality, the relation between deliberation and action, and the phenomenology of agency, providing (...)
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  7. S. E. N. Amartya (2005). Why Exactly is Commitment Important for Rationality? Economics and Philosophy 21 (1):5-14.
    Gary Becker and others have done important work to broaden the content of self interest, but have not departed from seeing rationality in terms of the exclusive pursuit of self-interest. One reason why committed behavior is important is that a person can have good reason to pursue objectives other than self interest maximization (no matter how broadly it is construed). Indeed, one can also follow rules of behavior that go beyond the pursuit of one's own goals, even if the goals (...)
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  8. Ian H. Angus (1979). Toward a Phenomenology of Rational Action. Man and World 12 (3):298-321.
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  9. G. E. M. Anscombe & Stephan Körner (eds.) (1974). Practical Reason: Papers and Discussions. Yale University Press.
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  10. Norbert Anwander (2001). Ruth Chang, Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (2):193-195.
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  11. Robert K. Armstrong (2004). Normativity and Individualism: An Essay on Hume. Dissertation, Columbia University
    Hume's theory of practical rationality, it has been claimed, fails to account for the intrinsically social character of practical deliberation and of the norms governing action. While the standard way of pressing this critique is unsuccessful, it can be advanced in another way. It is alleged that Hume cannot explain how it is possible to act contrary to reason because he holds that practical reasons are grounded in brute desires which are beyond the reach of rational criticism. But Hume offers (...)
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  12. Robert L. Arrington (1979). Practical Reason, Responsibility and the Psychopath. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 9 (1):71–89.
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  13. Marcus Arvan (forthcoming). How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences. Philosophical Psychology:1-20.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can’t expect when you’re expecting”, as well as in a forthcoming book, L.A. Paul uses the notion of transformative experience to challenge culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that if the problem Paul presents has no direct solution—if there is no way to defend the philosophically and culturally dominant approach to rational decision-making for (...)
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  14. Manuel Atienza (1992). Practical Reason and Legislation. Ratio Juris 5 (3):269-287.
    The author's starting point is Bobbio's theoretical approach to the problems of the relations between law and reason. He then appraises the meanings of reason and the concept of theoretical and practical rationality in the application of law. He examines the complex problem of the rationality of legislation and distinguishes five levels of rationality.
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  15. Robert Audi (2007). 2 Prospects for a Naturalization of Practical Reason: Instrumentalism and the Normative Authority of Desire. In Michael O'Rourke Corey Washington (ed.), Situating Semantics: Essays on the Philosophy of John Perry. 41.
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  16. Robert Audi (2007). Practical Reason and the Status of Moral Obligation. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (5):pp. 197-229.
    The article presents the author's views concerning the philosophical views regarding ethical obligation. He emphasizes the general, moral, and practical skepticism of the moral obligation. He provides information on the notions about normative externalism. The conflicting ideas between egoistic and intrapersonal are also discussed.
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  17. Robert Audi (2006). Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision. Routledge.
    What role does reason play in our actions? How do we know whether what we do is right? Can practical reasoning guide ethical judgment? Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision presents an account of practical reasoning as a process that can explain action, connect reasoning with intention, justify practical judgments, and provide a basis for ethical decisions. The first part of the book is a detailed critical overview of the influential theories of practical reasoning found in Aristotle, Hume, and Kant. The (...)
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  18. Robert Audi (2004). Reasons, Practical Reason, and Practical Reasoning. Ratio 17 (2):119–149.
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  19. Robert Audi (2003). Précis of the Architecture of Reason. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (1):177–180.
    This book constructs a comprehensive theory of rationality. Part I addresses theoretical rationality, roughly the territory of epistemology. Part II concerns practical rationality, roughly the territory of rational action, rational desire, and moral conduct. The third, final part addresses global rationality, the overall rationality of persons. Throughout, the role of experience is central: theoretical reason represents, in good part, our cognitive responses to experience, and it yields our map of the world. Practical reason represents, in good part, our conative responses (...)
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  20. Robert Audi (1997). Moral Judgment and Reasons for Action. In Garrett Cullity & Berys Nigel Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. 125--160.
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  21. Robert Audi (1991). The Nature and Assessment of Practical Reasoning: A Reply to John Barker and Richard Foley. Behavior and Philosophy 19 (2):73 - 81.
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  22. Robert Audi (1990). An Internalist Conception of Rational Action. Philosophical Perspectives 4:227-245.
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  23. Robert Audi (1990). Weakness of Will and Rational Action. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (3):270 – 281.
    Weakness of will has been widely discussed from at least three points of view. It has been examined historically, with Aristotle recently occupying centre stage. It has been analysed conceptually, with the question of its nature and possibility in the forefront. It has been considered normatively in relation to both rational action and moral character. My concern is not historical and is only secondarily conceptual: while I hope to clarify what constitutes weakness of will, I presuppose, rather than construct, an (...)
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  24. Robert Audi (1972). Psychoanalytic Explanation and the Concept of Rational Action. The Monist 56 (3):444-464.
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  25. Carla Bagnoli (2013). Constructivism About Practical Knowledge. In , Constructivism in Ethics. Cambridge University Press. 153-182.
    It is largely agreed that if constructivism contributes anything to meta-ethics it is by proposing that we understand ethical objectivity “in terms of a suitably constructed point of view that all can accept” (Rawls 1980/1999: 307). Constructivists defend this “practical” conception of objectivity in contrast to the realist or “ontological” conception of objectivity, understood as an accurate representation of an independent metaphysical order. Because of their objectivist but not realist commitments, Kantian constructivists place their theory “somewhere in the space between (...)
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  26. Carla Bagnoli (2009). The Mafioso Case: Autonomy and Self-Respect. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):477 - 493.
    This article argues that immoralists do not fully enjoy autonomous agency because they are not capable of engaging in the proper form of practical reflection, which requires relating to others as having equal standing. An adequate diagnosis of the immoralist’s failure of agential authority requires a relational account of reflexivity and autonomy. This account has the distinctive merit of identifying the cost of disregarding moral obligations and of showing how immoralists may become susceptible to practical reason. The compelling quality of (...)
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  27. Carla Bagnoli (2001). Rawls on the Objectivity of Practical Reason. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):307-329.
    This article argues that Rawls’ history of ethics importantly contributes to the advancement of ethical theory, in that it correctly situates Kantian constructivism as an alternative to both sentimentalism and rational Intuitionism, and calls attention to the standards of objectivity in ethics. The author shows that by suggesting that both Intuitionist and Humean doctrines face the charge of heteronomy, Rawls appearsto adopt a Kantian conception of practical reason. Furthermore, Rawls follows Kant in assuming that ethical objectivity can be vindicated only (...)
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  28. Kurt Baier (1988). Rationality, Value, and Preference. Social Philosophy and Policy 5 (02):17-.
    Gauthier's magnificent book erects a conception of morality, “morals by agreement,” on the foundation of his own theory of practical rationality. This is as it should be if, as he claims, following Hobbes and others, there is an initial “presumption against morality” and no theory of morals “can ever serve any useful purpose, unless it can show that all the duties it recommends are also truly endorsed in each individual's reason” , indeed, that it is a requirement of rationality that (...)
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  29. Judith Baker (2008). Rationality Without Reasons. Mind 117 (468):763-782.
    This paper challenges the assumption that reasons are intrinsic to rational action. A great many actions are not best understood as ones in which the agent acted for reasons--and yet they can be understood as rational, and as open to rational criticism. The relative paucity of explicit reason-giving, practical arguments in daily life presents a general philosophical problem. It reflects the existence of a class of ways in which reason can regulate action, which goes far beyond producing reasons or applying (...)
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  30. Jennifer Baker (2013). Virtue Ethics and Practical Guidance. Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):297-313.
    In this essay I argue that contemporary accounts of virtue ought to incorporate methods ancient virtue ethicists used in addressing an audience whose members were interested in improving their behavior. Ancient examples of these methods, I argue, model how to represent practical rationality in ethical arguments. They show us that when we argue for virtue we ought to address common claims, refer to moral reasoning as a stepwise process, and focus on norms when making recommendations. Our own ethical arguments will (...)
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  31. Michael D. Barber (2007). Ethical Experience and the Motives for Practical Rationality. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4):425-441.
    John McDowell’s ethical writings interpret ethical experience as intentional, socially-conditioned, virtuous responsiveness to situations and develop a modest account of practical rationality. His work converges with investigations of ethical experience by recent Kant scholars (Sherman, Brewer, Herman) and Emmanuel Levinas. The Kantian interpreters and Levinas locate the categorical demands of ethical experience in rational agents’ demands for respect, while McDowell finds it in noble adherence to the demands of virtuous living. For McDowell, moral-practical rational efforts to justify ethics cannot transcend (...)
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  32. Ricardo Barbosa (2005). A especificidade do estético e a razão prática em Schiller. Kriterion 46 (112):229-242.
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  33. John A. Barker (1991). Audi's Theory of Practical Reasoning. Behavior and Philosophy 19 (2):49 - 58.
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  34. Eric Barnes (2000). Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reason, Simon Blackburn. Clarendon Press, 1998, 344 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 16 (2):372-378.
  35. Peter Brian Barry (2007). Sergio Tenenbaum, Appearances of the Good: An Essay on the Nature of Practical Reason:Appearances of the Good: An Essay on the Nature of Practical Reason. Ethics 118 (1):181-184.
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  36. Robert Bass, Maximizing, Satisficing and the Normative Distinction Between Means and Ends.
    Decision theory, understood as providing a normative account of rationality in action, is often thought to be an adequate formalization of instrumental reasoning. As a model, there is much to be said for it. However, if decision theory is to adequately account for correct instrumental reasoning, then the axiomatic conditions by which it links preference to action must be normative for choice. That is, a choice must be rationally defective unless it proceeds from a preference set that satisfies the axiomatic (...)
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  37. Robert Bassett (2015). A Critique of Benchmark Theory. Synthese 192 (1):241-267.
    Benchmark theory , introduced by Ralph Wedgwood, departs from decision theories of pure expectation maximization like evidential decision theory and causal decision theory and instead ranks actions according to the desirability of an outcome they produce in some state of affairs compared to a standard—a benchmark—for that state of affairs. Wedgwood motivates BT through what he terms Gandalf’s principle, that the merits of an action in a given state should be evaluated relative only to the performances of other actions in (...)
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  38. Leora Batnitzky (1995). A Seamless Web? John Finnis and Joseph Raz on Practical Reason and the Obligation to Obey the Law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 15 (2):153-175.
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  39. Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.) (2004). Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge.
    Practical conflicts pervade human life. Agents have many different desires, goals, and commitments, all of which can come into conflict with each other. How can practical reasoning help to resolve these practical conflicts? In this collection of new essays a distinguished roster of philosophers analyze the diverse forms of practical conflict. Their aim is to establish an understanding of the sources of these conflicts, to investigate the challenge they pose to an adequate conception of practical reasoning, and to assess the (...)
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  40. Kenneth Baynes (1992). Constructivism and Practical Reason in Rawls. Analyse and Kritik 14:18-32.
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  41. Ronald E. Beanblossom (1971). Walton on Rational Action. Mind 80 (318):278-281.
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  42. Donald Beggs (2013). The Moral Virtue of Doublemindedness. Philosophy 88 (3):411-432.
    The conscientious are morally conflicted when their moral dilemmas or incommensurabilities, real or apparent, have not been resolved. But such doublemindedness need not lead to ethical disintegration or moral insensitivity. For one may develop the moral virtue of doublemindedness, the settled power to deliberate and act well while morally conflicted. Such action will be accompanied by both moral loss (perhaps ) and ethical gain (salubrious agental stability). In explaining the virtue's moral psychology I show, among other things, its consistency with (...)
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  43. S. I. Benn & G. F. Gaus (1986). Practical Rationality and Commitment. American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (3):255 - 266.
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  44. Robert J. Benton (1980). Kant's Categories of Practical Reason as Such. Kant-Studien 71 (1-4):181-201.
  45. Yogi Berra (2004). Involvement and Detachment: A Paradox of Practical Reason Peter Baumann. In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge. 244.
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  46. Stefano Bertea (2015). A Foundation for the Conception of Law as Practical Reason. Law and Philosophy 34 (1):55-88.
    This essay discusses a foundation of the connection argued to exist between law and practical reason that has proved to be highly influential and debated in contemporary legal philosophy – Alexy’s. After reconstructing Alexy’s conception of practical reason as well as its foundation, I criticise the weak transcendental-pragmatic argument Alexy uses to ground the authority of practical reason. This argument, I argue, can only show why occasionally, as opposed to necessarily, we ought to follow the guidance of practical reason, and (...)
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  47. Thomas M. Besch (2008). Constructing Practical Reason: O'Neill on the Grounds of Kantian Constructivism. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (1):55-76.
    The paper addresses O'Neill's view that her version of Kant's Categorical Imperative, namely, the requirement of followability (RF), marks the supreme principle of reason; it takes issue with her claim that RF commits us to Kantian constructivism in practical philosophy. The paper distinguishes between two readings of RF: on a weak reading, RF ranges over all (practical) reasoning but does not commit to constructivism, and on a strong version RF commits to constructivism but fails to meet its own test, and (...)
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  48. J. S. Biehl (2008). The Insignificance of Choice. In David Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Essays on Value, Rational Choice, and the Will. Springer. 110--75.
    For some time, philosophers have sought a more satisfactory understanding of the mysteries of morality through a close analysis of its assumed kinship with practical rationality, via the psychological capacity of choice. It is the view in the present paper that no such understanding is possible by these means. The significance of morality has nothing to do with choice.
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  49. Robert Binkley (1965). A Theory of Practical Reason. Philosophical Review 74 (4):423-448.
    This paper proposes a concept of "valid reasoning" that will apply univocally to reasoned judgment (inference), Reasoned decision (choice), And reasoned withholding of judgment and decision. "reasoning" is taken to include all these; "validity" of reasoning is defined in terms of the "ideally rational mind", Which is in turn defined by a modal logic of judging and deciding. The definition is defended by relating it to another ideal, That of the socratically omniscient and stoically omniscient sage, Who is defined by (...)
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  50. Mavis Biss (2014). Moral Imagination, Perception, and Judgment. Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):1-21.
    This paper develops an account of moral imagination that identifies the ways in which imaginative capacities contribute to our ability to make reason practical in the world, beyond their roles in moral perception and moral judgment. In section 1, I explain my understanding of what it means to qualify imagination as ‘moral,’ and go on in section 2 to identify four main conceptions of moral imagination as an aspect of practical reason in philosophical ethics. I briefly situate these alternative ideas (...)
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