The Practicality of Practical Inference

In Adrian Haddock & Rachael Wiseman (eds.), The Anscombean Mind. New York, NY, USA: pp. 253–290 (2022)
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In Intention, Anscombe says that practical reasoning is practical, not by virtue of its content, but rather by virtue of its form. But in her later essay ‘Practical Inference’, she seems to take this back, claiming instead that (1) the practicality of practical reasoning (or inference) resides in the distinctive use it makes of the premises, and (2) ‘it is a matter of indifference’ whether we say that it exemplifies a distinctive form. I aim to show that Anscombe is right about (1) but wrong about (2): the distinctive use (or teleology) of practical reasoning explains its distinctive formal features, and when the former is thought through, the latter are revealed to be more numerous and significant than Anscombe seems to recognize.



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Will Small
University of Illinois, Chicago

References found in this work

What is inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.
Will, Freedom, and Power.Anthony Kenny - 1975 - New York: Blackwell.
The first person.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1975 - In Samuel D. Guttenplan (ed.), Mind and Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 45–65.
Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.

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