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Summary

In (practical) deliberation we aim to decide what to do by considering reasons to act. Deliberation of this sort raises many questions, including: (i) What is the relationship between deliberation and acting for reasons? For instance, is deliberation necessary for acting for a reason? (ii) To what extent is it possible for us to take into account things other than reasons for and against doing A in deliberating about whether to A? What explains any such restriction? (iii) What kind of freedom, if any, is presupposed in deliberation? (iv) What is the relationship between rational deliberation and rational action? For instance, does rational deliberation which concludes in a decision to A ensure that it is rational to A? (v) What kinds of factors make for rational deliberation? Is deliberation about whether to A rational only insofar as it responds to reasons for and against A-ing? Or do other factors – for instance, about the benefits of being disposed to deliberate in certain ways – also bear on the rationality of deliberation? Some philosophers have also discussed the possibility of doxastic deliberation – deliberation about what to believe. Some philosophers have argued that features of doxastic deliberation support the view that belief is essentially normative.

Key works For a very helpful recent discussion of (i), see Arpaly & Schroeder 2012. For discussion of (ii) see e.g. Hieronymi 2006Kavka 1983, and Shah 2008. Much of the literature on (iv) and (v) takes off from David Gauthier's work, especially Gauthier 1986Morris & Ripstein 2001 is a very useful collection of essays on Gauthier's work. Much of the recent debate about doxastic deliberation begins with Shah 2003.
Introductions Pettit 2010
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  1. Hobbes on Mind: Practical Deliberation, Reasoning, and Language.Arash Abizadeh - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):1-34.
    Readers of Hobbes usually take his account of practical deliberation to be a passive process that does not respond to agents’ judgements about what normative reasons they have. This is ostensibly because deliberation is purely conative and/or excludes reasoning, or because Hobbesian reasoning is itself a process in which reasoners merely experience a succession of mental states (e.g. according to purely associative mental structures). I argue to the contrary that for Hobbes deliberation (and hence the basis for voluntary action) is (...)
  2. Book Review:Intention, Plans and Practical Reason. Michael E. Bratman. [REVIEW]Frederick Adams - 1989 - Ethics 100 (1):198-.
  3. Ruth Chang, Ed., Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason Reviewed By.Matthew D. Adler - 1999 - Philosophy in Review 19 (3):168-171.
  4. Procrastination, the Basic Impulse.George Ainslie - 2010 - In Chrisoula Andreou Mark D. White (ed.), The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination. Oxford University Press. pp. 11--27.
  5. A Discourse-Theoretical Conception of Practical Reason.Robert Alexy - 1992 - 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 (...)
  6. Time and the Philosophy of Action.Roman Altshuler & Michael J. Sigrist (eds.) - 2016 - 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. 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 (...)
  7. Moral Dilemmas, Deliberation, and Choice.Lyle V. Anderson - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):139-162.
  8. Figuring Out How to Proceed with Evaluation After Figuring Out What Matters.Chrisoula Andreou - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (4):621-637.
    I focus on David Gauthier’s intriguing suggestion that actions are not to be evaluated directly but via an evaluation of deliberative procedures. I argue that this suggestion is misleading, since even the most direct evaluation of (intentional) actions involves the evaluation of different ways of deliberating about what to do. Relatedly, a complete picture of what an agent is or might be (intentionally) doing cannot be disentangled from a complete picture of how s/he is or might be deliberating. A more (...)
  9. Parity, Comparability, and Choice.Chrisoula Andreou - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (1):5-22.
    It is often supposed that, given two potential objects of choice X and Y, a specific set of circumstances, and a specific choosing agent, one of the following must be true: (1) opting for X is a better choice than opting for Y, (2) opting for Y is a better choice than opting for X, or (3) opting for X and opting for Y are exactly equally good choices. My aim in this paper is to show how some philosophical insights (...)
  10. Temptation, Resolutions, and Regret.Chrisoula Andreou - 2014 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):275-292.
    Discussion of temptation has figured prominently in recent debates concerning instrumental rationality. In light of some particularly interesting cases in which giving in to temptation involves acting in accordance with one’s current evaluative rankings, two lines of thought have been developed: one appeals to the possibility of deviating from a well-grounded resolution, and the other appeals to the possibility of being insufficiently responsive to the prospect of future regret. But the current appeals to resolutions and regret and some of the (...)
  11. Taking on Intentions.Chrisoula Andreou - 2009 - Ratio 22 (2):157-169.
    I propose a model of intention formation and argue that it illuminates and does justice to the complex and interesting relationships between intentions on the one hand and practical deliberation, evaluative judgements, desires, beliefs, and conduct on the other. As I explain, my model allows that intentions normally stem from pro-attitudes and normally control conduct, but it is also revealing with respect to cases in which intentions do not stem from pro-attitudes or do not control conduct. Moreover, it makes the (...)
  12. Standards, Advice, and Practical Reason.Chrisoula Andreou - 2006 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (1):57-67.
    Is there a mode of sincere advice in which the standards of the adviser are put aside in favor of the standards of the advisee? I consider two sorts of cases that appear to be such that the adviser is evaluating things from within the advisee’s system of standards even though this system conflicts with her own; and I argue that these cases are best interpreted in ways that dissolve this appearance. I then argue that the nature of sincere advice (...)
  13. Temptation and Deliberation.Chrisoula Andreou - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (3):583-606.
    There is a great deal of plausibility to the standard view that if one is rational and it is clear at the time of action that a certain move, say M1, would serve one’s concerns better than any other available move, then one will, as a rational agent, opt for move M1. Still, this view concerning rationality has been challenged at least in part because it seems to conflict with our considered judgments about what it is rational to do in (...)
  14. Instrumentally Rational Myopic Planning.Chrisoula Andreou - 2004 - Philosophical Papers 33 (2):133-145.
    Abstract I challenge the view that, in cases where time for deliberation is not an issue, instrumental rationality precludes myopic planning. I show where there is room for instrumentally rational myopic planning, and then argue that such planning is possible not only in theory, it is something human beings can and do engage in. The possibility of such planning has, however, been disregarded, and this disregard has skewed related debates concerning instrumental rationality.
  15. The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination.Chrisoula Andreou & Mark D. White (eds.) - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
  16. Personal Identity and Practical Reason.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (2):331-350.
    ABSTRACT: This essay examines and criticizes a set of Kantian objections to Parfit's attempt in Reasons and Persons to connect his theory of personal identity to practical rationality and moral philosophy. Several of Parfit's critics have tried to sever the link he forges between his metaphysical and practical conclusions by invoking the Kantian thought that even if we accept his metaphysical theory of personal identity, we still have good practical grounds for rejecting that theory when deliberating about what to do. (...)
  17. Personal Identity and Practical Reason: The Failure of Kantian Replies to Parfit.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (2):331-350.
    ABSTRACT: This essay examines and criticizes a set of Kantian objections to Parfit's attempt in Reasons and Persons to connect his theory of personal identity to practical rationality and moral philosophy. Several of Parfit's critics have tried to sever the link he forges between his metaphysical and practical conclusions by invoking the Kantian thought that even if we accept his metaphysical theory of personal identity, we still have good practical grounds for rejecting that theory when deliberating about what to do. (...)
  18. Ruth Chang, Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason.Norbert Anwander - 2001 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (2):193-195.
  19. Unprincipled Virtue.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 8 (2):201-204.
    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.
  20. Unprincipled Virtue: An Inquiry Into Moral Agency.Nomy Arpaly - 2002 - 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.
  21. How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences.Marcus Arvan - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1199-1218.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can't expect when you're expecting,” L. A. Paul challenges 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 because major life-decisions are transformative, the only rational way to approach them is to become resilient people: people who do not “over-plan” their lives or expect their lives to play out “according to plan”—people who understand that beyond (...)
  22. The Scope of Motivation and the Basis of Practical Reason.Robert Audi - 1999 - Philosophic Exchange 29 (1).
    This paper explores the relationship between motivation, desire, pleasure and value. I argue that the motivational grounds of action are the kinds of desires that tend, in rational persons, to be produced both by experience of the good, and by beliefs that something one can do would be good.
  23. Book Review:Practical Reasoning. Robert Audi. [REVIEW]Bruce Aune - 1993 - Ethics 103 (2):379-.
  24. Feminism and Objective Interests: The Role of Transformation Experiences in Rational Deliberation.Susan Babbitt - 1993 - In Linda Alcoff & Elizabeth Potter (eds.), Feminist Epistemologies. Routledge. pp. 245--265.
  25. The Authority of Reflection.Carla Bagnoli - 2007 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 22 (1):43-52.
    This paper examines Moran’s argument for the special authority of the first-person, which revolves around the Self/Other asymmetry and grounds dichotomies such as the practical vs. theoretical, activity vs. passivity, and justificatory vs. explanatory reasons. These dichotomies qualify the self-reflective person as an agent, interested in justifying her actions from a deliberative stance. The Other is pictured as a spectator interested in explaining action from a theoretical stance. The self-reflective knower has authority over her own mental states, while the Spectator (...)
  26. The Verdictive Organization of Desire.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):589-612.
    Deliberation often begins with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ rather than the question of what one ought to do. This paper takes that question at face value, as a question about which of one’s desires is strongest, which sometimes guides action. The paper aims to explain which properties of a desire make that desire strong, in the sense of ‘strength’ relevant to this deliberative question. Both motivational force and phenomenological intensity seem relevant to a desire’s strength; however, (...)
  27. Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek Clayton Baker - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):321-347.
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do. Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some of (...)
  28. Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):321-347.
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do . Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some (...)
  29. Future Conditionals and DeRose's Thesis.David Barnett - 2012 - Mind 121 (482):407-442.
    In deciding whether to read this paper, it might seem reasonable for you to base your decision on your confidence (i) that, if you read this paper, you will become a better person. It might also seem reasonable for you to base your decision on your confidence (ii) that, if you were to read this paper, you would become a better person. Is there a difference between (i) and (ii)? If so, are you rationally required to base your decision on (...)
  30. The Moral Virtue of Doublemindedness.Donald Beggs - 2013 - 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 (...)
  31. The Tension Between Deliberation and Action.James O. Bennett - 1979 - Tulane Studies in Philosophy 28:81-92.
  32. Practical Tortoise Raising.Simon Blackburn - 1995 - Mind 104 (416):695-711.
    In this paper I am not so much concerned with movements of the mind, as movements of the will. But my question bears a similarity to that of the tortoise. I want to ask whether the will is under the control of fact and reason, combined. I shall try to show that there is always something else, something that is not under the control of fact and reason, which has to be given as a brute extra, if deliberation is ever (...)
  33. Review of Kirk Ludwig, From Individual to Plural Agency, Collective Action: Volume 1. [REVIEW]Olle Blomberg - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
  34. Hope and Practical Deliberation.Christopher A. Bobier - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):495-497.
    Accounts of practical deliberation tend to overlook any possible role for hope. I offer an argument showing that hope sets the ends of our practical deliberations and is thereby necessary for practical deliberation. It is because I hope to summit the mountain by midday that I deliberate about how to do so. Absent this particular hope, I could not deliberate about how to summit the mountain by midday.
  35. Parity, Incomparability and Rationally Justified Choice.Martijn Boot - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):75 - 92.
    This article discusses the possibility of a rationally justified choice between two options neither of which is better than the other while they are not equally good either (‘3NT’). Joseph Raz regards such options as incomparable and argues that reason cannot guide the choice between them. Ruth Chang, by contrast, tries to show that many cases of putative incomparability are instead cases of parity—a fourth value relation of comparability, in addition to the three standard value relations ‘better than’, ‘worse than’ (...)
  36. The Epistemic Benefits of Reason Giving.Lisa Bortolotti - 2009 - Theory and Psychology 19 (5):1-22.
    There is an apparent tension in current accounts of the relationship between reason giving and self knowledge. On the one hand, philosophers like Richard Moran (2001) claim that deliberation and justification can give rise to first-person authority over the attitudes that subjects form or defend on the basis of what they take to be their best reasons. On the other hand, the psychological evidence on the introspection effects and the literature on elusive reasons suggest that engaging in explicit deliberation or (...)
  37. Anchors for Deliberation.Michael Bratman - 2007 - In Christoph Lumer & Sandro Nannini (eds.), Intentionality, deliberation and autonomy: the action-theoretic basis of practical philosophy. Ashgate Publishing.
    This chapter sketches a model of deliberation that is anchored in plan-like commitments of the agent, commitments that constitute a form of valuing. These anchors need not be inescapable, they can sensibly vary from person to person, they can stand in complex relations to judgments about the good, and they play basic roles in the coss-temporal organization of practical thought and action. And deliberation so understood is, I conjecture, central to autonomy and self-government. The model sketched here is located in (...)
  38. Temptation and the Agent’s Standpoint.Michael E. Bratman - 2014 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):293-310.
    Suppose you resolve now to resist an expected temptation later while knowing that once the temptation arrives your preference or evaluative assessment will shift in favor of that temptation. Are there defensible norms of rational planning agency that support sticking with your prior intention in the face of such a shift at the time of temptation and in the absence of relevant new information? This article defends the idea that it might be rational to stick with your prior intention in (...)
  39. Intention, Practical Rationality, and Self‐Governance.Michael E. Bratman - 2009 - Ethics 119 (3):411-443.
  40. Reflection, Planning, and Temporally Extended Agency.Michael E. Bratman - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (1):35-61.
  41. Responsibility and Planning.Michael E. Bratman - 1997 - The Journal of Ethics 1 (1):27-43.
    We are planning agents and we are, or so we suppose, responsible agents. How are these two distinctive aspects of our agency related? In his "Freedom and Resentment" Peter Strawson understands responsible agency in terms of "reactive attitudes" like resentment and gratitude, attitudes which are normally embedded in "ordinary inter-personal relationships." I draw on Strawson''s account to sketch an answer to my question about responsibility and planning. First, the fact that an action is plan-embedded can influence the agent''s degree of (...)
  42. Planning and the Stability of Intention.Michael E. Bratman - 1992 - Minds and Machines 2 (1):1-16.
    I sketch my general model of the roles of intentions in the planning of agents like us-agents with substantial resource limitations and with important needs for coordination. I then focus on the stability of prior intentions: their rational resistance to reconsideration. I emphasize the importance of cases in which one's nonreconsideration of a prior intention is nondeliberative and is grounded in relevant habits of reconsideration. Concerning such cases I argue for a limited form of two-tier consequentialism, one that is restricted (...)
  43. Practical Reasoning and Acceptance in a Context.Michael E. Bratman - 1992 - Mind 101 (401):1-16.
  44. Politics of Practical Reasoning: Integrating Action, Discourse, and Argument.Keith Breen, Frank Canavan, Gerard Casey, Heike Felzmann, Thomas Gil, Karsten Harries, Richard Hull, Sebastian Lalla, Elizabeth Langhorne, Thomas Nisters, Felix O'Murchadha & Fran O'Rourke - 2012 - Lexington Books.
    This book treats practical and political reasoning as an active engagement with the world and other people; it cannot be understood as exclusively cognitive and this is seen as a virtue rather than a deficiency. Informal, emotional, characterological, aesthetic and interactional aspects of thought can be constituents of reasonable arguing. The work examines key capacities connected with argumentation, in a variety of fields from professional and medical ethics to work organization and the practice of art.
  45. The Retrieval of Ethics.Talbot Brewer - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Talbot Brewer offers a new approach to ethical theory, founded on a far-reaching reconsideration of the nature and sources of human agency.
  46. Kierkegaard on Time and the Limitations of Imaginative Planning.Daniel W. Brinkerhoff Young - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):144-169.
    In Practice in Christianity, Kierkegaard claims that the imaginative planning of projects that require ongoing effort over time always fails to represent them accurately. This paper explores one particular reason Kierkegaard gives for thinking this—that the imagination is incapable of capturing the temporality of such endeavors, and it is this temporality that constitutes their greatest difficulty. This is significant for Kierkegaard because he believes that the tasks of the moral life and the religious life belong to this class of endeavors. (...)
  47. Beginnings and Ends of Aristotelian Deliberation.Sarah Broadie - 1998 - In Jyl Gentzler (ed.), Method in Ancient Philosophy. Clarendon Press.
  48. Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome - 2013 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Rationality Through Reasoning_ answers the question of how people are motivated to do what they believe they ought to do, built on a comprehensive account of normativity, rationality and reasoning that differs significantly from much existing philosophical thinking. Develops an original account of normativity, rationality and reasoning significantly different from the majority of existing philosophical thought Includes an account of theoretical and practical reasoning that explains how reasoning is something we ourselves do, rather than something that happens in us Gives (...)
  49. Reasoning with Preferences?John Broome - 2006 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 59 (59):183-208.
  50. Are Intentions Reasons? And How Should We Cope with Incommensurable Values.John Broome - 2001 - In Christopher W. Morris & Arthur Ripstein (eds.), Practical Rationality and Preference: Essays for David Gauthier. Cambridge University Press. pp. 98--120.
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