Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):481-505 (2001)

Philip Clark
University of Toronto, Mississauga
On the question of the conclusion of a piece of practical reasoning, few have been willing to follow Aristotle's lead. He said the conclusion was an action. These days, the conclusion is usually described either as a proposition about what one ought to do, or as a psychological state or event, such as a decision to do something, an intention to do something, or a belief about what one ought to do. Why favor these options over the action-as-conclusion view? By far the most oft-repeated answer is that these views, unlike Aristotle's, can accommodate the case in which a conclusion is drawn but not acted upon. The conclusion cannot be an action, it is said, because it is possible to reach a conclusion about what to do without doing the action. My thesis is that this objection fails, and that as a consequence no radical departure from Aristotle's proposal is warranted.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI cjphil20013142
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