Two Conceptions of Reasons for Action


Authors
Ruth Chang
Oxford University
Abstract
On a ‘comparative’ conception of practical reasons, reasons are like ‘weights’ that can make an action more or less rational. Bernard Gert adopts instead a ‘toggle’ conception of practical reasons: something counts as a reason just in case it alone can make some or other otherwise irrational action rational. I suggest that Gert’s conception suffers from various defects, and that his motivation for adopting this conception – his central claim that actions can be rational without there being reasons for them – does not require adoption of the toggle conception. The more intuitive comparative conception of reasons for action can accommodate the insight.
Keywords Bernard Gert  reasons
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DOI 10.1111/phpr.2001.62.issue-2
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