Reasons for action, acting for reasons, and rationality

Synthese 195 (8):3293-3310 (2018)
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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 mental states or mental facts, and also against a variant of Factualism that says that some practical reasons are facts and others are false beliefs. I argue that the conception of practical reasons defended here provides plausible answers to the second and third questions above; and gives a more unified and satisfactory picture of practical reasons than those offered by its rivals.



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Maria Alvarez
King's College London

Citations of this work

Being More Realistic About Reasons: On Rationality and Reasons Perspectivism.Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):605-627.
Structural Rationality.Benjamin Kiesewetter & Alex Worsnip - 2023 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Acting and Believing Under the Guise of Normative Reasons.Keshav Singh - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):409-430.
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What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Justification and the Truth-Connection.Clayton Littlejohn - 2012 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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