Deliberation and Acting for Reasons

Philosophical Review 121 (2):209-239 (2012)
Theoretical and practical deliberation are voluntary activities, and like all voluntary activities, they are performed for reasons. To hold that all voluntary activities are performed for reasons in virtue of their relations to past, present, or even merely possible acts of deliberation thus leads to infinite regresses and related problems. As a consequence, there must be processes that are nondeliberative and nonvoluntary but that nonetheless allow us to think and act for reasons, and these processes must be the ones that generate the voluntary activities making up ordinary deliberation. These nondeliberative, nonvoluntary processes by means of which we are able to deliberate for reasons are the fundamental processes by means of which we can think or do anything for a reason: once it has been seen that they must exist, it can be recognized that they are ubiquitous. As a result, the usefulness of deliberation to rational belief and action is intermittent, contingent, and modest. Deliberation is a tremendously valuable tool for increasing human capacities to think and act for good reasons in challenging contexts, but in the end it is merely a tool, wielded by people through the same nondeliberative, nonvoluntary capacities to think and act for reasons that they are enhancing the effectiveness of by deliberating.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1215/00318108-1539089
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Derek Baker (2015). Deliberators Must Be Imperfect. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3).
Andrew McAninch (2015). Activity, Passivity, and Normative Avowal. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):n/a-n/a.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jennifer M. Morton (2013). Deliberating for Our Far Future Selves. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4):809-828.
Nishi Shah (2008). How Action Governs Intention. Philosophers' Imprint 8 (5):1-19.
Nishi Shah (2008). How Action Governs Intention. Philosophers' Imprint 8 (5):1-19.
Jason D'Cruz (2013). Volatile Reasons. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):31 - 40.
Stephen Darwall (2003). Desires, Reasons, and Causes. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):436–443.
Chrisoula Andreou (2005). The Voices of Reason. American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (1):33 - 45.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

200 ( #8,955 of 1,726,564 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

22 ( #39,227 of 1,726,564 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.