Can Reasons Be Propositions? Against Dancy's Attack on Propositionalism

Theoria 83 (3):185-205 (2017)

Authors
Attila Tanyi
University of Tromsø
Matteo Morganti
Università degli Studi Roma Tre
Abstract
The topic of this article is the ontology of practical reasons. We draw a critical comparison between two views. According to the first, practical reasons are states of affairs; according to the second, they are propositions. We first isolate and spell out in detail certain objections to the second view that can be found only in embryonic form in the literature – in particular, in the work of Jonathan Dancy. Next, we sketch possible ways in which one might respond to each one of these objections. A careful evaluation of these complaints and responses, we argue, shows that the first view is not as obviously compelling as it is thought by Dancy. Indeed, it turns out that the view that practical reasons are propositions is by no means unworkable and in fact, at least under certain assumptions, explicit considerations can be made in favour of a propositional construal of reasons.
Keywords propositions  reasons  Jonathan Dancy  unity of reasons  states of affairs
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DOI 10.1111/theo.12117
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References found in this work BETA

Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
What is a Reason to Act?Kieran Setiya - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):221-235.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):333-352.
Reasons as Evidence.Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:215-42.

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