Two ways of relating to (and acting for) reasons

Mind and Language 33 (5):441-459 (2018)
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Most views of agency take acting for reasons (whether explanatory or justifying) to be an important hallmark of the capacity for agency. The problem, however, is that the standard analysis of what it is to act in light of reasons is not sufficiently fine grained to accommodate what we will argue are the myriad types of ways that agents can do so. We suggest that a full account of acting for reasons must also recognize the relationship that agents have with their reasons. We focus on two types of relationships. The first is the traditional case, where agents act in light of reasons that they take to be their own and that they endorse. We describe this as possessing an Endorsement Relationship with one's reasons. A second way of relating to reasons is what we will describe as possessing a Directed Relationship with one's reasons. This includes cases in which agents' actions are the product of reasons but toward which agents do not have an Endorsement Relationship. The Endorsement Relationship is uncontroversial. In this paper, we defend the existence and importance of the Directed Relationship. We show that it is a genuine but overlooked way of relating to, and thereby acting for, reasons.



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Caroline T. Arruda
Tulane University

Citations of this work

Out of habit.Santiago Amaya - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11161-11185.
Animal Agency, Captivity, and Meaning.Nicolas Delon - 2018 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 25:127-146.
Can affordances be reasons?Tobias Starzak & Tobias Schlicht - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.

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References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Unprincipled virtue: an inquiry into moral agency.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:321-332.
Practical Reality.Jonathan Dancy - 2000 - Philosophy 78 (305):414-425.
The problem of action.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1997 - In Alfred R. Mele (ed.), The philosophy of action. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 157-62.

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