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Summary

What is the relationship between theoretical and practical reason? For instance, might requirements of practical reason be grounded in requirements of practical reason, or vice-versa? Or do theoretical and practical reason form distinct domains? Other issues falling under this topic include questions about the similarities and differences between practical and theoretical reason, and about connections between them (for instance, about ways in which what you ought (have reason, justification…) to do depends on what you ought (have reason, justification…) to believe, and vice-versa).

Key works For influential defences of the idea that some or all requirements of practical reason are grounded in requirements of theoretical reason, see Harman 1997 and Velleman 1989. For discussion see Bratman 1991Setiya 2003, and Ross 2009. For discussion of the idea that requirements of epistemic reason are grounded in practical reason see Foley 1987 and Kelly 2003.
Introductions Wallace 2008Wiland 2012, and Brunero & Kolodny 2013 include some discussion of this topic.
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  1. Intending, Settling, and Relying.Facundo M. Alonso - forthcoming - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Volume 4. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers of action of different persuasions have suggested that there is a tight connection between the phenomenon of intending and the phenomena of “being settled on” and of “settling” a course of action. For many, this connection supports an important constraint on intention: one may only intend what one takes one’s so intending as settling. Traditionally, this has been understood as a doxastic constraint on intention: what one takes one’s intention as settling is what one believes one’s so intending as (...)
  2. Reasons for Reliance.Facundo M. Alonso - 2016 - Ethics 126 (2):311-338.
    Philosophers have in general offered only a partial view of the normative grounds of reliance. Some maintain that either one of evidence or of pragmatic considerations has a normative bearing on reliance, but are silent about whether the other kind of consideration has such a bearing on it as well. Others assert that both kinds of considerations have a normative bearing on reliance, but sidestep the question of what their relative normative bearing is. My aim in this article is to (...)
  3. What is Reliance?Facundo M. Alonso - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):163-183.
    In this article I attempt to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about reliance in a systematic way. I argue that reliance is a cognitive attitude that has a tighter connection to the guidance of our thought and action than ordinary belief does. My main thesis is that reliance has a ‘constitutive aim’: namely, it aims at guiding our thought and action in a way that is sensible from the standpoint of practical or theoretical ends. This helps explain why reliance (...)
  4. The Voices of Reason.Chrisoula Andreou - 2005 - American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (1):33 - 45.
    It is widely held that instrumental reasoning to a practical conclusion is parasitic on non-instrumental practical reasoning. This conclusion is based on the claim that when there is no reason to adopt a certain end, there is no reason to take the means (qua means) to that end. But, as will be argued, while there is a sense of reason according to which the previous statement is true, there is another sense according to which it is false. Furthermore, in both (...)
  5. Belief, Action and Rationality Over Time.Chrisoula Andreou & Sergio Tenenbaum (eds.) - 2016 - Routledge.
    Action theorists and formal epistemologists often pursue parallel inquiries regarding rationality, with the former focused on practical rationality, and the latter focused on theoretical rationality. In both fields, there is currently a strong interest in exploring rationality in relation to time. This exploration raises questions about the rationality of certain patterns over time. For example, it raises questions about the rational permissibility of certain patterns of intention; similarly, it raises questions about the rational permissibility of certain patterns of belief. While (...)
  6. Personal Identity and Practical Reason.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (2):331.
  7. Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
    This is a welcome reprint of a book that continues to grow in importance.
  8. The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality.Robert Audi - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
    The literature on theoretical reason has been dominated by epistemological concerns, treatments of practical reason by ethical concerns. This book overcomes the limitations of dealing with each separately. It sets out a comprehensive theory of rationality applicable to both practical and theoretical reason. In both domains, Audi explains how experience grounds rationality, delineates the structure of central elements, and attacks the egocentric conception of rationality. He establishes the rationality of altruism and thereby supports major moral principles. The concluding part describes (...)
  9. Akrasia and the Problem of the Unity of Reason.Derek Baker - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):65-80.
    Joseph Raz and Sergio Tenenbaum argue that the Guise of the Good thesis explains both the possibility of practical reason and its unity with theoretical reason, something Humean psychological theories may be unable to do. This paper will argue, however, that Raz and Tenenbaum face a dilemma: either the version of the Guise of the Good they offer is too strong to allow for weakness of will, or it will lose its theoretical advantage in preserving the unity of reason.
  10. Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek 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 (...)
  11. The Conclusion of Practical Reasoning.Gerald W. Barnes - 1983 - Analysis 43 (4):193 - 199.
  12. Mince Pie Reasoning.Gerald W. Barnes - 1982 - 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).
  13. Reason, Action, and Weakness of the Will: A Semantic Approach.Tomas Barrero - 2010 - Ideas Y Valores 59 (143):161-187.
    This paper develops some of Austin’s ideas on excuses, stressing their “dimensional” character and relating it to Searle’s distinction between intention-in-action and previous intention, in order to show that the original speech-act shaped distinction between weakness of the will and moral weakness can be embedded in a quite different theoretical framework such as Davidson’s, while Austin’s dimensional classification of actions cannot. Finally, the article analyzes how Grice’s critique of Davidson’s views on akrasia is more faithful to Austin and more radical (...)
  14. Moral Uncertainty and Permissibility: Evaluating Option Sets.Christian Barry & Patrick Tomlin - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):1-26.
    In this essay, we explore an issue of moral uncertainty: what we are permitted to do when we are unsure about which moral principles are correct. We develop a novel approach to this issue that incorporates important insights from previous work on moral uncertainty, while avoiding some of the difficulties that beset existing alternative approaches. Our approach is based on evaluating and choosing between option sets rather than particular conduct options. We show how our approach is particularly well-suited to address (...)
  15. Knowledge, Practical Reasoning and Action.Peter Baumann - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (1):7-26.
    Is knowledge necessary or sufficient or both necessary and sufficient for acceptable practical reasoning and rational action? Several authors (e.g., Williamson, Hawthorne, and Stanley) have recently argued that the answer to these questions is positive. In this paper I present several objections against this view (both in its basic form as well in more developed forms). I also offer a sketch of an alternative view: What matters for the acceptability of practical reasoning in at least many cases (and in all (...)
  16. Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays.Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.) - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    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 essays a distinguished roster of philosophers analyse 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 degree (...)
  17. Knowledge Norms.Matthew A. Benton - 2014 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:nn-nn.
    Encyclopedia entry covering the growing literature on the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (and its rivals), the Knowledge Norm of Action (and pragmatic encroachment), the Knowledge Norm of Belief, and the Knowledge Norm of Disagreement.
  18. Norms, Reasons and Reasoning: A Guide Through Lewis Carroll’s Regress Argument.Corine Besson - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
    This paper concerns connection between knowing or accepting a logical principle such as Modus Ponens and actions of reasoning involving it. Discussions of this connection typically mention the so-called ‘Lewis Carroll Regress’ and there is near consensus that the regress shows something important about it. Also, although the regress explicitly concerns logic, many philosophers think that it establishes a more general truth, about the structurally similar connection between epistemic or practical principles and actions involving them. This paper’s first aim is (...)
  19. How Not to Be Muddled by a Meddlesome Muggletonian.John Bigelow & Michael Smith - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (4):511 – 527.
    Holton, we acknowledge, has given a good counter-example to a theory, and that theory is interesting and worth refuting. The theory we have in mind is like Smith's, but is more reductionist in spirit. It is a theory that ties value to Reason and to processes of reasoning, or inference - not to the recognition of reasons and acting on reasons. Such a theory overestimates the importance of logic, truth, inference, and thinking things through for yourself independently of any ideas (...)
  20. Intention et faiblesse de la volonté.Renée Bilodeau - 2002 - Dialogue 41 (01):27-44.
    Akrasia is both an intentional and an irrational phenomenon. These two characteristics can be reconciled by a careful reconstruction of practical reasoning. I undertake this task along Davidsonian lines, arguing against his critics that the notion of unconditional judgment is the key to an adequate account of akrasia. Unless akrasia is conceived as a failure of the agent to form an unconditional judgment that conforms to her best judgment "all things considered," the intentionality of akrasia is lost. Likewise, I show (...)
  21. Intention Et Faiblesse de la Volonté.Renée Bilodeau - 2002 - Dialogue 41 (1):27-44.
    Akrasia is both an intentional and an irrational phenomenon. These two characteristics can be reconciled by a careful reconstruction of practical reasoning. I undertake this task along Davidsonian lines, arguing against his critics that the notion of unconditional judgment is the key to an adequate account of akrasia. Unless akrasia is conceived as a failure of the agent to form an unconditional judgment that conforms to her best judgment "all things considered," the intentionality of akrasia is lost. Likewise, I show (...)
  22. Croyance et justification.Renée Bilodeau - 2001 - Cahiers de Philosophie de L’Université de Caen 37:153-165.
    Cet article se propose de montrer que l’éthique de la croyance, si elle permet de clarifier certains problèmes épistémiques, a le tort d’être utilisée à des fins pour lesquelles le réseau conceptuel de l’éthique est inadéquat. Dans ce but, je présente d’abord la thèse de la divergence et les arguments qui militent en sa faveur. J’indique ensuite pourquoi ces arguments ne sont pas concluants en examinant de plus près les rapports existant entre raisons épistémiques et raisons pratiques. Cette discussion se (...)
  23. A Theory of Practical Reason.Robert Binkley - 1965 - 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 (...)
  24. Conflict in Practical Reasoning.Daniel Bonevac & T. K. Seung - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (3):315 - 345.
  25. Practical Reason.Pierre Bourdieu - 1998 - Mind 74 (294):174-191.
    The author states that it has been a common conviction among philosophers, And still is, That there is an important difference between practical matters and theoretical matters; between answers to such practical questions as 'what is to be done?' and answers to such theoretical questions as 'what is the case?' this distinction has sometimes been thought to be such that though reason can be theoretical there is an important sense in which it cannot be practical. The author maintains that one (...)
  26. Points of View and Practical Reasoning.Robert Brandom - 1982 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):321 - 333.
  27. Intention, Belief, and Instrumental Rationality.Michael Bratman - 2009 - In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Reasons for Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13--36.
    Two approaches to instrumental rationality Suppose I intend end E, believe that a necessary means to E is M, and believe that M requires that I intend M. My attitudes concerning E and M engage a basic requirement of practical rationality, a requirement that, barring a change in my cited beliefs, I either intend M or give up intending E.2 Call this the Instrumental Rationality requirement – for short, the IR requirement.
  28. 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 (...)
  29. Intention, Belief, Practical, Theoretical.Michael E. Bratman - 2009 - In Simon Robertson (ed.), Spheres of Reason: New Essays in the Philosophy of Normativity. Oxford University Press.
  30. Review of "Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman". [REVIEW]Michael Brent - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
  31. Review: The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality. [REVIEW]Jason Bridges - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):1083-1088.
  32. Natural Law, the Understanding of Principles, and Universal Good.Stephen Brock - 2011 - Nova et Vetera 9:671-706.
  33. Practical Reasoning and Inference.John Broome - 2013 - In David Bakhurst, Brad Hooker & Margaret Little (eds.), Thinking About Reasons: Essays in Honour of Jonathan Dancy. Oxford University Press. pp. 286–309.
  34. Practical Reasoning and Inference.John Broome - 2013 - In David Bakhurst, Margaret Olivia Little & Brad Hooker (eds.), Thinking About Reasons: Themes From the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy. Oxford University Press. pp. 286.
  35. Normative Requirements.John Broome - 1999 - Ratio 12 (4):398–419.
    Normative requirements are often overlooked, but they are central features of the normative world. Rationality is often thought to consist in acting for reasons, but following normative requirements is also a major part of rationality. In particular, correct reasoning – both theoretical and practical – is governed by normative requirements rather than by reasons. This article explains the nature of normative requirements, and gives examples of their importance. It also describes mistakes that philosophers have made as a result of confusing (...)
  36. Subject‐Sensitive Invariantism and the Knowledge Norm for Practical Reasoning.Jessica Brown - 2008 - Noûs 42 (2):167-189.
  37. Knowledge and Practical Reason.Jessica Brown - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1135-1152.
    It has become recently popular to suggest that knowledge is the epistemic norm of practical reasoning and that this provides an important constraint on the correct account of knowledge, one which favours subject-sensitive invariantism over contextualism and classic invariantism. I argue that there are putative counterexamples to both directions of the knowledge norm. Even if the knowledge norm can be defended against these counterexamples, I argue that it is a delicate issue whether it is true, one which relies on fine (...)
  38. The Normativity of Automaticity.Michael Brownstein & Alex Madva - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (4):410-434.
    While the causal contributions of so-called ‘automatic’ processes to behavior are now widely acknowledged, less attention has been given to their normative role in the guidance of action. We develop an account of the normativity of automaticity that responds to and builds upon Tamar Szabó Gendler's account of ‘alief’, an associative and arational mental state more primitive than belief. Alief represents a promising tool for integrating psychological research on automaticity with philosophical work on mind and action, but Gendler errs in (...)
  39. Against Cognitivism About Practical Rationality.John Brunero - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (3):311-325.
    Cognitivists about Practical Rationality argue that we can explain some of the requirements of practical rationality by appealing to the requirements of theoretical rationality. First, they argue that intentions involve beliefs, and, second, they show how the theoretical requirements governing those involved beliefs can explain some of the practical requirements governing those intentions. This paper avoids the ongoing controversy about whether and how intentions involve beliefs and focuses instead on this second part of the Cognitivist approach, where I think Cognitivism (...)
  40. Instrumental Rationality and Carroll's Tortoise.John Brunero - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (5):557-569.
    Some philosophers have tried to establish a connection between the normativity of instrumental rationality and the paradox presented by Lewis Carroll in his 1895 paper “What the Tortoise Said to Achilles.” I here examine and argue against accounts of this connection presented by Peter Railton and James Dreier before presenting my own account and discussing its implications for instrumentalism (the view that all there is to practical rationality is instrumental rationality). In my view, the potential for a Carroll-style regress just (...)
  41. Instrumental Rationality, Epistemic Rationality, and Evidence-Gathering.Lara Buchak - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):85-120.
    This paper addresses the question of whether gathering additional evidence is always rationally required, both from the point of view of instrumental rationality and of epistemic rationality. It is shown that in certain situations, it is not instrumentally rational to look for more evidence before making a decision. These are situations in which the risk of “misleading” evidence – a concept that has both instrumental and epistemic senses – is not offset by the gains from the possibility of non-misleading evidence. (...)
  42. Teorie dell’argomentazione. Un’introduzione alle logiche del dialogo.Paola Cantù & Italo Testa - 2006 - Bruno Mondadori.
    TABLE OF CONTENTS -/- I. La rinascita novecentesca 1. Chaïm Perelman: la nuova retorica 2. Stephen Toulmin: la pratica logica e l’uso degli argomenti 3. Ragionamento e linguaggio: la logica naturale di Jean-Blaise Grize -/- II. La logica informale 1. Informale vs. formale? 2. Il concetto di argomento 3. La ripresa della teoria di Paul Grice 4. La ricostruzione degli argomenti 5. La valutazione degli argomenti: le fallacie 6. Il network problem -/- III. Dialogo e dialettica 1. La logica dialogica (...)
  43. Belief and Acceptance.L. Jonathan Cohen - 1989 - Mind 98 (391):367-389.
  44. Does Practical Rationality Constrain Epistemic Rationality? [REVIEW]Stewart Cohen - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):447-455.
  45. The Epistemological Foundations of Practical Reason.Mark Colby - 1999 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 42 (1):25 – 47.
    One consequence of the later Wittgenstein's influential critique of epistemological foundationalism has been to convince many contemporary philosophers that the ideal of universal and necessary cognitive grounds for moral or political norms is illusory. Recent neo-Wittgensteinian accounts of practical reason attempt to formulate a conception of a post-foundational politics in which a political ethos can be legitimate, rational or just even if its informing practices and cognitive standards lack foundational justification. Against these appropriations of Wittgenstein, I argue that his account (...)
  46. The Ways of Reason.Juan Manuel Comesana - 2003 - Dissertation, Brown University
    This dissertation is about rationality, both practical rationality , and theoretical rationality . I argue that there are interesting similarities as well as interesting differences between practical and theoretical rationality. One of the similarities is that both of them are essentially related to the explanation of actions and beliefs, and one of the differences is that whereas theoretical rationality has the hyper-external aim of truth, practical rationality has the non-hyper-external aim of desire satisfaction. ;In chapter 1 I present a general (...)
  47. Absolute Value as Belief.Steven Daskal - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):221 - 229.
    In “Desire as Belief” and “Desire as Belief II,” David Lewis ( 1988 , 1996 ) considers the anti-Humean position that beliefs about the good require corresponding desires, which is his way of understanding the idea that beliefs about the good are capable of motivating behavior. He translates this anti-Humean claim into decision theoretic terms and demonstrates that it leads to absurdity and contradiction. As Ruth Weintraub ( 2007 ) has shown, Lewis’ argument goes awry at the outset. His decision (...)
  48. Chapter 9. Theoretical Rationality and Practical Rationality.Craig Dilworth - 2003 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 81:113-125.
  49. Reason in its Practical Application.E. Sonny Elizondo - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13 (21):1-17.
    Is practical reason a cognitive faculty? Do practical judgments make claims about a subject matter that are appropriately assessed in terms of their agreement with that subject matter? According to Kantians like Christine Korsgaard, the answer is no. To think otherwise is to conflate the theoretical and the practical, the epistemic and the ethical. I am not convinced. In this paper, I motivate my skepticism through examination of the very figure who inspires Korsgaard’s rejection of cognitivism: Kant. For as I (...)
  50. Diachronic Structural Rationality.Luca Ferrero - 2014 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):311-336.
    In this paper I investigate whether there are genuine and irreducible pressures of diachronic rationality grounded on the structure of the subject rather than on substantive considerations, such as pragmatic ones. I argue that structural pressures of diachronic rationality have a limited scope. The most important pressure only tells against arbitrary interference with the mechanisms for the retention of attitudes over time. I then argue that in the practical case, a substantial account in terms of the agent's temporal identity appears (...)
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