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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. Darren Abramson (2004). Review of “Rationality in Action”. [REVIEW] Essays in Philosophy 5 (2):2.
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  2. Richard Edward Allen (2000). Reasoning About Values. Dissertation, Columbia University
    In Part One of this dissertation I imagine an agent who is omniscient in the domain of theoretical reason in order to explore whether such an agent could confront open questions about the value of his options, whether there exists a distinct form of rationality applicable to evaluative questions, and whether we can plausibly deny that evaluative reasoning ever arrives at true conclusions. I argue that our ability to engage in evaluative reasoning supports the moral realist claim that there exist (...)
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  3. 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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  4. Julian Amaya & Ximena Alvarez (2008). Formation of character and practical reasoning. Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 8:10-65.
    This article states that practice and action are more important than intellectual knowledge and contemplation. If this thesis were false, one cannot understand why prudence and the prudent person are the supreme virtue and the model of the good life in Aristotle. The initial question is: how should the rationality of desire be understood, or what does reasoned desire mean? This implies two additional issues: what is the practical syllogism, and what is its relationship to correct reason? How are practical (...)
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  5. Lyle V. Anderson (1985). Moral Dilemmas, Deliberation, and Choice. Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):139-162.
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  6. Lyle Vincent Anderson (1980). Logic, Motivation and Action: Extending Aristotle's Theory of Choice. Dissertation, Yale University
    There is, however, an important subjective difference; the purpose of the essay is to exploit it. A purely logical analysis cannot adjudicate the following dispute: an agent, wishing to preserve an air of ignorance and innocence, may claim merely to have selected P, while an analyst, wishing to prove knowledge and guilt, may claim that the agent 'really' discounted Q, as a relevant reason for action. Such a dispute about basicness of actions is meaningful, if not resolvable. Thus, if the (...)
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  7. Ian H. Angus (1979). Toward a Phenomenology of Rational Action. Man and World 12 (3):298-321.
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  8. G. E. M. Anscombe & Stephan Körner (eds.) (1974). Practical Reason: Papers and Discussions. Yale University Press.
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  9. D. J. Anzia & J. La Puma (1990). Right Action: Commentary on" Practical Reasoning in Medicine. Journal of Clinical Ethics 1 (3):193.
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  10. Brad Armendt (2013). On Risk and Rationality. Erkenntnis:1-9.
    It is widely held that the influence of risk on rational decisions is not entirely explained by the shape of an agent’s utility curve. Buchak (Erkenntnis, 2013, Risk and rationality, Oxford University Press, Oxford, in press) presents an axiomatic decision theory, risk-weighted expected utility theory (REU), in which decision weights are the agent’s subjective probabilities modified by his risk-function r. REU is briefly described, and the global applicability of r is discussed. Rabin’s (Econometrica 68:1281–1292, 2000) calibration theorem strongly suggests that (...)
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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. Frank Arntzenius (2007). 7. Rationality and Self-Confidence. Oxford Studies in Epistemology: Volume 2 2:165.
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  13. Hilliard Aronovitch (1979). Rational Motivation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 40 (2):173-193.
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  14. Hilliard Aronovitch (1978). Social Explanation and Rational Motivation. American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (3):197 - 204.
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  15. Nomy Arpaly (2003). Unprincipled Virtue: An Inquiry Into Moral Agency. Oxford University Press.
    Nomy Arpaly rejects the model of rationality used by most ethicists and action theorists. Both observation and psychology indicate that people act rationally without deliberation, and act irrationally with deliberation. By questioning the notion that our own minds are comprehensible to us--and therefore questioning much of the current work of action theorists and ethicists--Arpaly attempts to develop a more realistic conception of moral agency.
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  16. E. A. Ashcroft (1906). The World's Desires. The Monist 16:473.
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  17. 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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  18. Katie Atkinson & Trevor Bench-Capon (2005). Legal Case-Based Reasoning as Practical Reasoning. Artificial Intelligence and Law 13 (1):93-131.
    In this paper we apply a general account of practical reasoning to arguing about legal cases. In particular, we provide a reconstruction of the reasoning of the majority and dissenting opinions for a particular well-known case from property law. This is done through the use of Belief-Desire-Intention (BDI) agents to replicate the contrasting views involved in the actual decision. This reconstruction suggests that the reasoning involved can be separated into three distinct levels: factual and normative levels and a level connecting (...)
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  19. Katie Atkinson, Trevor Bench-Capon & Peter McBurney (2006). Computational Representation of Practical Argument. Synthese 152 (2):157 - 206.
    In this paper we consider persuasion in the context of practical reasoning, and discuss the problems associated with construing reasoning about actions in a manner similar to reasoning about beliefs. We propose a perspective on practical reasoning as presumptive justification of a course of action, along with critical questions of this justification, building on the account of Walton. From this perspective, we articulate an interaction protocol, which we call PARMA, for dialogues over proposed actions based on this theory. We outline (...)
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  20. Robert Audi (2015). Reasons, Rights, and Values. Cambridge University Press.
    A central concern in recent ethical thinking is reasons for action and their relation to obligations, rights, and values. This collection of recent essays by Robert Audi presents an account of what reasons for action are, how they are related to obligation and rights, and how they figure in virtuous conduct. In addition, Audi reflects in his opening essay on his theory of reasons for action, his common-sense intuitionism, and his widely debated principles for balancing religion and politics. Reasons are (...)
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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Robert Audi (1990). An Internalist Conception of Rational Action. Philosophical Perspectives 4:227-245.
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  26. 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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  27. Robert Audi (1986). Intending, Intentional Action, and Desire. In J. Marks (ed.), The Ways of Desire. Precedent 17--38.
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  28. Robert Audi (1972). Psychoanalytic Explanation and the Concept of Rational Action. The Monist 56 (3):444-464.
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  29. Bruce Aune (1966). Intention and Foresight. Journal of Philosophy 63 (20):652-654.
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  30. Susan Babbitt (1993). Feminism and Objective Interests: The Role of Transformation Experiences in Rational Deliberation. In Linda Alcoff & Elizabeth Potter (eds.), Feminist Epistemologies. Routledge 245--265.
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. Baker (2010). Procrastination as Vice. In Chrisoula Andreou Mark D. White (ed.), The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination. Oxford
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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. Ricardo Barbosa (2005). A especificidade do estético e a razão prática em Schiller. Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 46 (112):229-242.
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  38. John A. Barker (1991). Audi's Theory of Practical Reasoning. Behavior and Philosophy 19 (2):49 - 58.
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  39. James William Barlow (1882). The Ultimatum of Pessimism.
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  40. 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.
  41. Gerald W. Barnes (1982). Mince Pie Reasoning. Analysis 42 (3):163 - 169.
    ‘…one might easily wonder why no one has ever pointed out the mince pie syllogism…” (G. E. M. Anscombe, Intention, 2nd edition 1969, sec. 33).
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  42. Jon Barwise (1996). The Right Things for the Right Reasons. In Piergiorgio Odifreddi (ed.), Kreiseliana. About and Around Georg Kreisel. A K Peters 15.
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  43. 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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  44. Tora Basu (1989). Kant's Conception of Rational Action. Indian Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4):393.
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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. Anne Margaret Baxley (2014). Virtue, Self-Mastery, and the Autocracy of Practical Reason. In Lara Denis & Oliver Sensen (eds.), Kant’s Lectures on Ethics: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press 223-238.
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  48. Kenneth Baynes (1992). Constructivism and Practical Reason in Rawls. Analyse & Kritik 14 (1):18-32.
    This essay argues that Rawls's recent constructivist approach waivers between a relativist defense and a more Kantian account which grounds his conception of justice in the idea of an agreement between free and equal moral persons. It is suggested that this ambiguity lies at the center of his attempt to provide a "political not metaphysical" account which is also not "political in the wrong way".
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  49. Ronald E. Beanblossom (1971). Walton on Rational Action. Mind 80 (318):278-281.
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  50. William W. Beatty & William S. Maki (1979). Acquisition of Instrumental Responding Following Noncontingent Reinforcement: Failure to Observe “Learned Laziness” in Rats. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 13 (4):268-271.
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