Reasons

Edited by Errol Lord (University of Pennsylvania)
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  1. Consideratism and the Credence of Conflicting Concepts (2022).David Klier -
    Skepticism has had a problem for a long time: it seems self-defeating. If I can’t trust something, can I trust that I can’t trust it? Pyrrho thought that “No one knows anything - and even that’s not certain.” [1] Or at least, that was Pyrrho’s answer to the “self-defeat objection.” Whether this is convincing or not, it has been known that throughout philosophical history, having a skeptical bone in your body is a good thing. From Socrates saying “the only thing (...)
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  2. Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit.R. A. Rowland - forthcoming - In Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    It is tempting to think that all of normativity, such as our reasons for action, what we ought to do, and the attitudes that it is fitting for us to have, derives from what is valuable. But value-first approaches to normativity have fallen out of favour as the virtues of reasons- and fittingness-first approaches to normativity have become clear. On these views, value is not explanatorily prior to reasons and fit; rather the value of things is understood in terms of (...)
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  3. Function-Based Conceptual Engineering and the Authority Problem.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Mind.
    In this paper, I identify a central problem for conceptual engineering: the problem of showing concept-users why they should recognise the authority of the concepts advocated by engineers. I argue that this authority problem cannot generally be solved by appealing to the increased precision, consistency, or other theoretical virtues of engineered concepts. Outside contexts in which we anyway already aim to realise theoretical virtues, solving the authority problem requires engineering to take a functional turn and attend to the functions of (...)
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  4. Normative Reasons: Between Reasoning and Explanation.Artūrs Logins - 2022 - Cambridge University Press.
    Reasons matter greatly to us in both ordinary and theoretical contexts, being connected to two fundamental normative concerns: figuring out what we should do and what attitudes to have, and understanding the duties and responsibilities that apply to us. This book introduces and critiques most of the contemporary theories of normative reasons considerations that speak in favor of an action, belief, or emotion - to explore how they work. Artūrs Logins develops and defends a new theory: the Erotetic view of (...)
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  5. Fittingness First?: Reasons to Withhold Belief.Wooram Lee - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    Recent years have seen the rise of fittingness-first views, which take fittingness to be the most basic normative feature, in terms of which other normative features can be explained. This paper poses a serious difficulty for the fittingness-first approach by showing that existing fittingness-first accounts cannot plausibly accommodate an important class of reasons: reasons not to believe a proposition. There are two kinds of reasons not to believe a proposition: considerations that are counterevidence; and considerations that count against believing the (...)
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  6. A Coherent and Comprehensible Interpretation of Saul Smilansky’s Dualism.Sofia M. I. Jeppsson - 2015 - Filosofiska Notiser 2 (1):39-45.
    Saul Smilansky’s theory of free will and moral responsibility consists of two parts; dualism and illusionism. Dualism is the thesis that both compatibilism and hard determinism are partly true, and has puzzled many philosophers. I argue that Smilansky’s dualism can be given an unquestionably coherent and comprehensible interpretation if we reformulate it in terms of pro tanto reasons. Dualism so understood is the thesis that respect for persons gives us pro tanto reasons to blame wrongdoers, and also pro tanto reasons (...)
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  7. Practical reasons, theoretical reasons, and permissive and prohibitive balancing.John Brunero - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    Philosophers have often noted a contrast between practical and theoretical reasons when it comes to cases involving equally balanced reasons. When there are strong practical reasons for A-ing, and equally strong practical reasons for some incompatible option, B-ing, the agent is permitted to make an arbitrary choice between them, having sufficient reason to A and sufficient reason to B. But when there is strong evidence for P and equally strong evidence for ~ P, one isn’t permitted to simply believe one (...)
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  8. Getting Things Right: Fittingness, Value, and Reasons.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This book has two main aims. First, it develops and defends a constitutive account of normative reasons as premises of good reasoning. This account says, roughly, that to be a normative reason for a response (such as a belief or intention) is to be premise of good reasoning, from fitting responses, to that response. Second, building on the account of reasons, it develops and defends a fittingness-first account of the structure of the normative domain. This account says that there is (...)
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  9. All Reasons Are Fundamentally for Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
    As rational agents, we are governed by reasons. The fact that there’s beer at the pub might be a reason to go there and a reason to believe you’ll enjoy it. As this example illustrates, there are reasons for both action and for belief. There are also many other responses for which there seem to be reasons – for example, desire, regret, admiration, and blame. This diversity raises questions about how reasons for different responses relate to each other. Might certain (...)
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  10. Answerability Without Reasons.Lilian O'Brien - 2021 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. New York, NY, USA: pp. 32-53.
    It is widely accepted that we are answerable in a special way for our intentional actions. And it is also widely accepted that we are thus answerable because we perform intentional actions for reasons. The aim of this chapter is to argue against this ‘reasons’ view of such answerability. First, reasons are distinguished from practical standards. Then, it is argued that the best interpretation of the practices in which we treat agents as answerable is that they fundamentally concern practical standards (...)
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  11. Value and Idiosyncratic Fitting Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - forthcoming - In Christopher Howard & Richard Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    Norm-attitude accounts of value say that for something to be valuable is for there to be norms that support valuing that thing. For example, according to fitting-attitude accounts, something is of value if it is fitting to value, and according to buck-passing accounts, something is of value if the reasons support valuing it. Norm-attitude accounts face the partiality problem: in cases of partiality, what it is fitting to value, and what the reasons support valuing, may not line up with what’s (...)
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  12. Sentimental Reasons.Edgar Phillips - 2021 - In Simon Cushing (ed.), New Philosophical Essays on Love and Loving. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 171–194.
    Much recent discussion of love concerns ‘the reasons for love’: whether we love for reasons and, if so, what sorts of things those reasons are. This chapter seeks to call into question some of the assumptions that have shaped this debate, in particular the assumption that love might be ‘responsive’ to reasons in something like the way that actions, beliefs, intentions and ordinary emotions are. I begin by drawing out some tensions in the existing literature on reasons for love, suggesting (...)
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  13. The Fittingness of Emotions.Hichem Naar - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13601-13619.
    We often assess emotions as appropriate or inappropriate depending on certain evaluative aspects of the world. Often using the term ‘fittingness’ as equivalent to ‘appropriateness’, many philosophers of emotion take fittingness assessments of emotions to be a broadly representational matter. On this sort of view, an emotion is fitting or appropriate just in case there is a kind of representational match between the emotion and the object, a matching analogous to truth for belief. This view provides an account of the (...)
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  14. Promises, Intentions, and Reasons for Action.Andrew Lichter - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):218-231.
    Abraham Roth argues that to accept a promise is to intend the performance of the promised action. I argue that this proposal runs into trouble because it makes it hard to explain how promises provide reasons for the performance of the promised action. Then, I ask whether we might fill the gap by saying that a promisor becomes entitled to the reasons for which her promise is accepted. I argue that this fix would implausibly shrink the class of binding promises (...)
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  15. Admiration, Appreciation, and Aesthetic Worth.Daniel Whiting - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    What is aesthetic appreciation? In this paper, I approach this question in an indirection fashion. First, I introduce the Kantian notion of moral worthy action and an influential analysis of it. Next, I generalize that analysis from the moral to the aesthetic domain, and from actions to affects. Aesthetic appreciation, I suggest, consists in an aesthetically worthy affective response. After unpacking the proposal, I show that it has non-trivial implications while cohering with a number of existing insights concerning the nature (...)
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  16. No Problem of Consistent Incompatible Desires: a Reply to Baumann.Daniel Coren - 2020 - Acta Analytica 36 (3):465-474.
    In a brief and deeply interesting 2017 Acta Analytica paper, Peter Baumann argues that there are cases of necessarily incompatible but mutually consistent desires, that this is a common problem, and that there is no solution in sight. I’ll argue that Baumann fails to note certain non-trivial assumptions that must be made for the possibility of consistent incompatible desires; if consistent incompatible desires do exist then they’re sometimes beneficial; and if they are sometimes involved with problematic outcomes then the mere (...)
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  17. Imperative Inference and Practical Rationality.Daniel W. Harris - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (4):1065-1090.
    Some arguments include imperative clauses. For example: ‘Buy me a drink; you can’t buy me that drink unless you go to the bar; so, go to the bar!’ How should we build a logic that predicts which of these arguments are good? Because imperatives aren’t truth apt and so don’t stand in relations of truth preservation, this technical question gives rise to a foundational one: What would be the subject matter of this logic? I argue that declaratives are used to (...)
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  18. Können nichtmenschliche Tiere handeln?Geert Keil - 2021 - In Roland Kipke, Nele Röttger, Johanna Wagner & Almut Kristine von Wedelstaedt (eds.), ZusammenDenken. Berlin/Heidelberg/Wiesbaden: Springer VS. pp. 159-177.
    Ralf Stoecker hat argumentiert, dass allein Menschen im strengen Sinne handeln könnten, weil sie allein fähig seien, etwas aus Gründen zu tun und über diese Gründe Rechenschaft abzulegen. In einem weniger strengen Sinn könnten auch Tiere handeln. Ich werde in diesem Beitrag zunächst Stoeckers Begründung seiner zweigeteilten These rekapitulieren (1) und dann zwei Rückfragen dazu stellen: (a) Warum soll es gerade die Praxis des logon didonai sein, die Verhalten zu Handlungen im engen Sinne macht? (b) Warum soll es genau zwei (...)
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  19. The Epistemology and Science of Justified Reason.Verdie Michael Dreyer - 2021 - Philosophia 50 (2):503-532.
    A theory of reasoned knowledge is presented by developing and demonstrating the methodology of a novel skeptical critique designed to extend the epistemological practice of belief justification to an epistemological practice of reason justification. Analyses of the reasoning found in the theorizations of certain seminal philosophers and leading scientists will reveal how the absence of the epistemic justification of reason defaults to the use of an unjustified form of reason that runs the play of an unrecognized and unchecked dialectic between (...)
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  20. Do Affective Desires Provide Reasons for Action?Ashley Shaw - 2021 - Ratio 34 (2):1-11.
    This paper evaluates the claim that some desires provide reasons in virtue of their connection with conscious affective experiences like feelings of attraction or aversion. I clarify the nature of affective desires and several distinct ways in which affective desires might provide reasons. Against accounts proposed by Ruth Chang, Declan Smithies and Jeremy Weiss, I motivate doubts that it is the phenomenology of affective experiences that explains their normative or rational significance. I outline an alternative approach that centralises the function (...)
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  21. Circumstance, Answerability, and Luck.Lubomira V. Radoilska - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):155-167.
    This paper identifies a distinctive kind of moral luck, deep circumstantial luck and then explores its effects on moral responsibility. A key feature of the phenomenon is that it is recurrent rather than one-off. It also affects agents across a wide range of situations making it difficult to detect. Deeply unlucky agents are subject to unfavourable moral assessments through no fault of their own both in specific cases and when they try to respond to such initial assessments. In this respect, (...)
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  22. Must Reasons Be Either Theoretical or Practical? Aesthetic Criticism and Appreciative Reasons.Keren Gorodeisky - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    A long debate in aesthetics concerns the reasoned nature of criticism. The main questions in the debate are whether criticism is based on (normative) reasons, whether critics communicate reasons for their audience’s responses, and if so, how to understand these critical reasons. I argue that a great obstacle to making any progress in this debate is the deeply engrained assumption, shared by all sides of the debate, that reasons can only be either theoretical reasons (i.e., those that explain what to (...)
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  23. In defense of exclusionary reasons.N. P. Adams - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):235-253.
    Exclusionary defeat is Joseph Raz’s proposal for understanding the more complex, layered structure of practical reasoning. Exclusionary reasons are widely appealed to in legal theory and consistently arise in many other areas of philosophy. They have also been subject to a variety of challenges. I propose a new account of exclusionary reasons based on their justificatory role, rejecting Raz’s motivational account and especially contrasting exclusion with undercutting defeat. I explain the appeal and coherence of exclusionary reasons by appeal to commonsense (...)
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  24. The Explanatory Merits of Reasons-First Epistemology.Eva Schmidt - 2020 - In Christoph Demmerling & Dirk Schröder (eds.), Concepts in Thought, Action, and Emotion: New Essays. New York: pp. 75-91.
    I present an explanatory argument for the reasons-first view: It is superior to knowledge-first views in particular in that it can both explain the specific epistemic role of perception and account for the shape and extent of epistemic justification.
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  25. Against the 'First' Views (Formerly Not Fittingness, Not Reasons, Not Value) [Chapter 5 of The True and the Good: A New Theory of Theoretical Reason].Andrew Reisner - manuscript
    This is chapter 5 of the book project _The true and the good: a new theory of theoretical reason_, in which I explore the claim that both alethic and pragmatic reasons for belief are basic, but that they share a pragmatic foundation in a pluralist theory of wellbeing in which being in a positive epistemic state is a non-derivative component of wellbeing. This chapter argues that all three of fittingness first, reasons first, and value first views are false. It does (...)
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  26. Emotion: More Like Action Than Perception.Hichem Naar - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-30.
    Although some still advance reductive accounts of emotions—according to which they fall under a more familiar type of mental state—contemporary philosophers tend to agree that emotions probably constitute their own kind of mental state. Agreeing with this claim, however, is compatible with attempting to find commonalities between emotions and better understood things. According to the advocates of the so-called ‘perceptual analogy’, thinking of emotion in terms of perception can fruitfully advance our understanding even though emotion may not be reducible to (...)
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  27. Desire and What It’s Rational to Do.Ashley Shaw - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (4):761-775.
    ABSTRACT It is often taken for granted that our desires can contribute to what it is rational for us to do. This paper examines an account of desire—the ‘guise of the good’— that promises an explanation of this datum. I argue that extant guise-of-the-good accounts fail to provide an adequate explanation of how a class of desires—basic desires—contributes to practical rationality. I develop an alternative guise-of-the-good account on which basic desires attune us to our reasons for action in virtue of (...)
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  28. Mark C. Murphy, God’s Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency and the Argument From Evil. [REVIEW]Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):587-590.
  29. Are Desires Beliefs About Normative Reasons?Avery Archer - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):236-251.
  30. Possessing Reasons: Why the Awareness-First Approach is Better Than the Knowledge-First Approach.Paul Silva - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2925-2947.
    In order for a reason to justify an action or attitude it must be one that is possessed by an agent. Knowledge-centric views of possession ground our possession of reasons, at least partially, either in our knowledge of them or in our being in a position to know them. On virtually all accounts, knowing P is some kind of non-accidental true belief that P. This entails that knowing P is a kind of non-accidental true representation that P. I outline a (...)
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  31. Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan Weaver and Kevin Scharp. [REVIEW]Daniel Fogal & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - Ethics.
  32. Egoism and humanism.Andrej Poleev - 2020 - Enzymes 18.
    В противостоянии эгоизма и гуманизма лишь „возделывание души“ может предотвратить всеобщее падение в пропасть безумия и мракобесия.
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  33. Moore, Brentano, and Scanlon: A Defense of Indefinability.Miles Tucker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2261-2276.
    Mooreans claim that intrinsic goodness is a conceptual primitive. Fitting-attitude theorists object: they say that goodness should be defined in terms of what it is fitting for us to value. The Moorean view is often considered a relic; the fitting-attitude view is increasingly popular. I think this unfortunate. Though the fitting-attitude analysis is powerful, the Moorean view is still attractive. I dedicate myself to the influential arguments marshaled against Moore’s program, including those advanced by Scanlon, Stratton-Lake and Hooker, and Jacobson; (...)
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  34. Aristotle on Motion in Incomplete Animals.Daniel Coren - forthcoming - Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science.
    I explain what Aristotle means when, after puzzling about the matter of motion in incomplete animals (those without sight, smell, hearing), he suggests in De Anima III 11.433b31-434a5 that just as incomplete animals are moved indeterminately, desire and phantasia are present in those animals, but present indeterminately. I argue that self-motion and its directing faculties in incomplete animals differ in degree but not in kind from those of complete animals. I examine how an object of desire differs for an incomplete (...)
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  35. Normative Reasons for Mentalism.Eva Schmidt - 2018 - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism and Anti-Realism. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 97-120.
    The aim of this paper is to connect the traditional epistemological issue of justification with what one might call the “new reasons paradigm” coming from the philosophy of action and metaethics. More specifically, I will show that Conee and Feldman’s mentalism, a version of internalism about justification, can profitably be spelled out in terms of subjective normative reasons. On the way to achieving this aim, I will argue that it is important to ask not just the oft-discussed ontological question about (...)
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  36. Vertical Precedents in Formal Models of Precedential Constraint.Gabriel L. Broughton - 2019 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 27 (3):253-307.
    The standard model of precedential constraint holds that a court is equally free to modify a precedent of its own and a precedent of a superior court—overruling aside, it does not differentiate horizontal and vertical precedents. This paper shows that no model can capture the U.S. doctrine of precedent without making that distinction. A precise model is then developed that does just that. This requires situating precedent cases in a formal representation of a hierarchical legal structure, and adjusting the constraint (...)
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  37. The Normative and the Evaluative: The Buck-Passing Account of Value.Richard Rowland - 2019 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed on (...)
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  38. Conflicts, Bounded Rationality and Collective Wisdom in a Networked Society.J. Francisco Alvarez - 2016 - In Giovanni Scarafile & Leah Gruenpeter Gold (eds.), Paradoxes of Conflicts. Springer. pp. 85-95.
    Álvarez J.F. (2016) Conflicts, Bounded Rationality and Collective Wisdom in a Networked Society. In: Scarafile G., Gruenpeter Gold L. (eds) Paradoxes of Conflicts. Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning (Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences), vol 12. Springer, Cham -/- The adoption of an individualistic perspective on reasoning, choice and decision is a spring of paradoxes of conflicts. Usually the agents immerse in conflicts are drawn or modelled as rational individuals with targets well defined and full capabilities to access to (...)
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  39. Possessing Epistemic Reasons: The Role of Rational Capacities.Eva Schmidt - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):483-501.
    In this paper, I defend a reasons-first view of epistemic justification, according to which the justification of our beliefs arises entirely in virtue of the epistemic reasons we possess. I remove three obstacles for this view, which result from its presupposition that epistemic reasons have to be possessed by the subject: the problem that reasons-first accounts of justification are necessarily circular; the problem that they cannot give special epistemic significance to perceptual experience; the problem that they have to say that (...)
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  40. Can There Be Government House Reasons for Action?Hille Paakkunainen - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):56-93.
    I defend the relatively orthodox view that reasons for action are premises in good practical reasoning, against recent counterexamples that suggest that, like “government house” moral justifications, some reasons are to be ignored in deliberation. I also explain, positively, what is right about the orthodoxy. Unless reasons are premises in good practical reasoning, reasons cannot be normative in the way they are usually taken to be, and relatedly, are unfit to play certain familiar theoretical and related everyday roles that give (...)
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  41. Reasons for Action, Acting for Reasons, and Rationality.Maria Alvarez - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3293-3310.
    What kind of thing is a reason for action? What is it to act for a reason? And what is the connection between acting for a reason and rationality? There is controversy about the many issues raised by these questions. In this paper I shall answer the first question with a conception of practical reasons that I call ‘Factualism’, which says that all reasons are facts. I defend this conception against its main rival, Psychologism, which says that practical reasons are (...)
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  42. Defeating Pragmatic Encroachment?Matthew McGrath - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7).
    This paper examines the prospects of a prima facie attractive response to Fantl and McGrath’s argument for pragmatic encroachment. The response concedes that if one knows a proposition to be true then that proposition is warranted enough for one to have it as a reason for action. But it denies pragmatic encroachment, insofar as it denies that whether one knows a proposition to be true can vary with the practical stakes, holding fixed strength of warrant. This paper explores two ways (...)
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  43. Ethics and Practical Reason. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 7:119-120.
    In this review of essays on the topic of practical reason, the neo-Humeanism of philosophers such as James Drier, according to whom reasons are instrumental, is shown to be susceptible to the objections of Kantian philosophers such as Christine Korsgaard: the fact that you desire to X can never entail that you ought to X. Kantianism, however, comes under attack from neo-Aristotelian philosophers such as Berys Gaut, who argues that it is a mistake to identify goodness with being the object (...)
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  44. Review of Weighing and Reasoning: Themes From the Philosophy of John Broome. [REVIEW]Barry Maguire - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1.
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  45. Objectivity and the Internal-External Reasons Controversy: A Study of Paul K. Moser’s Philosophy After Objectivity. [REVIEW]Robert Audi - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2):395.
    This is a book that takes seriously both skepticism and the philosophical theories in tension with it. It argues with great force that there are plausible versions of skepticism that cannot, without question-begging, be refuted, yet it rejects the inference from that conclusion to the permissibility of an anything-goes attitude in philosophy. Instead, the book represents a distinctive kind of agnosticism: rejecting naive realism and adopting agnosticism even toward sophisticated realism forces us to adopt a kind of relativism, but leaves (...)
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  46. Two Notions of Intentional Action? Solving a Puzzle in Anscombe’s Intention.Lucy Campbell - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (3):578-602.
    The account of intentional action Anscombe provides in her Intention has had a huge influence on the development of contemporary action theory. But what is intentional action, according to Anscombe? She seems to give two different answers, saying first that they are actions to which a special sense of the question ‘Why?’ is applicable, and second that they form a sub-class of the things a person knows without observation. Anscombe gives no explicit account of how these two characterizations converge on (...)
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  47. Gert, Joshua. Normative Bedrock: Response-Dependence, Rationality, and Reasons.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. 218. $65.00. [REVIEW]Bart Streumer - 2014 - Ethics 124 (3):608-612.
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  48. Book ReviewsRüdiger Bittner,. Doing Things for Reasons.New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Pp. 204. $35.00.Joseph Mendola - 2003 - Ethics 113 (2):393-396.
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  49. Book ReviewB. C. Postow, Reasons for Action: Toward a Normative Theory and Meta‐Level Criteria.Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999. Pp. 204. $90.00. [REVIEW]Robert Noggle - 2001 - Ethics 112 (1):175-177.
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  50. Can Reason Establish the Goals of Action? Assessing Interpretations of Aristotle’s Theory of Agency.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2017 - Discusiones Filosóficas 18 (30):35-62.
    Scholarship on Aristotle’s theory of action has recently veered toward an intellectualist position, according to which reason is in charge of setting the goals of action. This position has recently been criticized by an anti-intellectualism revival, according to which character, and not reason, sets the goals of action. I argue that neither view can sufficiently account for the complexities of Aristotle’s theory, and suggest a middle way that combines the strengths of both while avoiding their pitfalls. The key problem for (...)
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