David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Many normative claims are substantive claims about reasons— claims, for example, about the reasons that a person in certain circumstances has to do or to believe something. But not all normative claims are substantive claims about reasons. In particular, some claims about what it would be irrational for someone to do are normative claims but not claims about the reasons that person has. Here are some examples. (I will state these in terms of “reasons for belief” and “reasons for intending,” although I will later raise doubts about whether this is the best way of describing these cases.) If a person believes that p, then it would be irrational for him to refuse to rely on p as a premise in further reasoning, and to reject arguments because they rely on it. To say this is not to say that the person has good reason to accept these arguments. Perhaps what he has most reason to do is to give up his belief that p. The claim is only that as long as he believes that p, it is irrational of him to refuse to accept such arguments. Similar claims hold in regard to practical reasoning: if a person intends to do A at t, and believes that in order to do this she must first do B, then it is irrational for her not to count this as a reason for doing B. This is not to say that she has any reason to do B. Perhaps what she has most reason to do is to abandon her intention to do A, or to change her mind about..
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