Reasoning and its limits

Synthese 199 (3-4):9479-9495 (2021)
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Reasoning is naturally understood as something which we actively do—as a kind of action. However, reflection on the supposed limits to the extent to which it is up to us how our reasoning unfolds is often taken to cast doubt on this idea. I argue that, once articulated with care, challenges to the idea that reasoning is a kind of action can be seen to trade on problematic assumptions. In particular, they trade on assumptions which could be used to rule out paradigmatic actions from qualifying as such. Accordingly, no distinctive challenge to the idea that reasoning is a kind of action can trade on such assumptions. I suggest that it is a mistaken atomistic way of thinking about action which is the source of the relevant assumptions. Reasoning can unproblematically be maintained to be a kind of action. It is the atomistic way of thinking about action which ought to be rejected.

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David Jenkins
King's College London (PhD)

Citations of this work

Action and Reaction: The Two Voices of Inner Speech.Tom Frankfort - 2022 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (1):51-69.

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References found in this work

A Metaphysics for Freedom.Helen Steward - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Being known.Christopher Peacocke - 1999 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Mind's Construction: The Ontology of Mind and Mental Action.Matthew Soteriou - 2013 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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