Canadian Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):247 - (1997)

Elizabeth S. Radcliffe
College of William and Mary
The theory that practical reasoning is wholly instrumental says that the only practical function of reason is to tell agents the means to their ends, while their ends are fixed by something other than reason itself. In this essay I argue that Hume has an instrumentalist theory of practical reasoning. This thesis may sound as unexciting as the contention that Kant is a rationalist about morality. For who would have thought otherwise? After all, isn't the ‘instrumentalist’ line in contemporary discussions of this topic descended directly from Hume himself? Contrast the following recent comment from Robert Audi's book on practical reasoning, holding the standard line, with the comment from Christine Korsgaard following it:Hume's conception of practical reasoning, so far as we can formulate it, can be located within … the foundationalist account of motivation in which reason plays the instrumentalist role … by virtue of arousing and directing our desires.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI 10.1080/00455091.1997.10717479
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References found in this work BETA

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
The Moral Problem.James Lenman - 1994 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):125-126.
Skepticism About Practical Reason.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):5-25.
The Humean Theory of Motivation.Michael Smith - 1987 - Mind 96 (381):36-61.
Ethics, Inventing Right and Wrong.[author unknown] - 1977 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 43 (3):581-582.

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The Hume Literature, 1999.William Edward Morris - 2000 - Hume Studies 26 (2):357-368.

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