The Space of Reasons as Self-Consciousness

Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In reasoning, we draw conclusions from multiple premises. But thinkers can be fragmented. And if there is no single fragment of the agent that thinks all of the premises, then the agent cannot draw any conclusions from them. It follows that reasoning from multiple premises depends on their being thought together. But what is it to think premises together? What is the condition that contrasts with fragmentation? This paper provides an answer to this question that is simple but compelling: to think premises together is to attribute those very thoughts to one and the same self. The ability to reason depends on the ability to attribute the thoughts from which one reasons to oneself. Reasoning—at least the sort of reasoning that we do—requires de se thought.

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Eric Marcus
Auburn University

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References found in this work

Mind and World.John McDowell - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):99-109.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):389-394.
What is inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.
Self-reference and self-awareness.Sydney S. Shoemaker - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (October):555-67.
Skepticism about practical reason.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):5-25.

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