Anscombe on Acting for Reasons

In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason. Routledge (2020)
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This chapter discusses some of Anscombe’s contributions to the philosophy of practical reason. It focuses particularly on Anscombe’s view of what it is to act for reasons. I begin by discussing the relationship between acting intentionally and acting for reasons in Anscombe's theory of action. I then further explicate her view by discussing her rejection of two related views about acting for reasons: causalism (the view that reasons are a kind of cause of actions) and psychologism (the view that reasons are mental states like desires and beliefs). In the process, I try to show that Anscombe’s rejection of these theses does not leave us with mystery, but rather sheds light on an interesting and serious heterodox view of acting for reasons. I conclude by suggesting that though Anscombe's views have been taken sufficiently seriously by philosophers of action, they should be taken more seriously by philosophers of practical reason.



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Keshav Singh
University of Alabama, Birmingham

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