People act for reasons. That is how we understand ourselves. But what is it to act for a reason? This is what Fred Schueler investigates. He rejects the dominant view that the beliefs and desires that constitute our reasons for acting simply cause us to act as we do, and argues instead for a view centred on practical deliberation--our ability to evaluate the reasons we accept. Schueler's account of 'reasons explanations' emphasizes the relation between reasons and purposes, and the fact (...) that the reasons for an action are not always good reasons. (shrink)
Does action always arise out of desire? G. F. Schueler examines this hotly debated topic in philosophy of action and moral philosophy, arguing that once two senses of "desire" are distinguished - roughly, genuine desires and pro attitudes - apparently plausible explanations of action in terms of the agent's desires can be seen to be mistaken. Desire probes a fundamental issue in philosophy of mind, the nature of desires and how, if at all, they motivate and justify our actions. At (...) least since Hume argued that reason "is and of right ought to be the slave of the passions," many philosophers have held that desires play an essential role both in practical reason and in the explanation of intentional action. G. F. Schueler looks at contemporary accounts of both roles in various belief-desire models of reasons and explanation and argues that the usual belief-desire accounts need to be replaced. Schueler contends that the plausibility of the standard belief-desire accounts rests largely on a failure to distinguish "desires proper," like a craving for sushi, from so-called "pro attitudes," which may take the form of beliefs and other cognitive states as well as desires proper. Schueler's "deliberative model" of practical reasoning suggests a different view of the place of desire in practical reason and the explanation of action. He holds that we can arrive at an intention to act by weighing the relevant considerations and that these may not include desires proper at all. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that the latter group [of Non-Humeans] is correct. My argument focuses on practical deliberation and has two parts. I will discuss two different problems that arise for the Humean Theory and suggest that while taken individually each problem appears to have a solution, for each problem the solution Humeans offer precludes solving the other problem. I will suggest that to see these difficulties we must take seriously the thought that we can only understand an (...) agent’s reasons for her action by looking at her actual or possible practical deliberation. (shrink)
The difference between cognitive and conative mental states, such as beliefs and desires, has sometimes been held to be that they have different “directions of fit” between the mind and the world – mind-to-world for beliefs and world-to-mind for desires (see Desire). Some philosophers have pursued the idea that if this thought can be given a plausible explanation it can be used to ground Hume's claim that “reason is the slave of the passions,” i.e., that no moral or other “practical” (...) belief, e.g., about what is best or right to do, can ever by itself be enough to motivate action. A desire or desire-like state is always required (see Reason and Passion; Hume, David). This issue will be discussed below. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to answer the question of how it is that a person who incites another to do something can be held morally responsible for this second person's acts. Professor bruce franklin's dismissal from stanford university is taken as the main example and it is argued that though those incited act 'because' of what the incitor does, This 'because' is not explainable on the standard models of physical causation, Coercion or hypnosis. It is closer to (...) the truth to think of the incitor as arguing, To those incited, That they should perform some action. (shrink)
There is a tension between deliberation and desire when both are relevant to explaining the same action. A common way of understanding this situation, as contained in a standard version of the practical syllogism, is problematic. This paper attempts to resolve the tension by explaining what 'motivation by what one wants' comes to when deliberation is involved.