What is the relation between a reason and an action when the reason explains the action by giving the agent's reason for doing what he did? We may call such explanations rationalizations, and say that the reason rationalizes the action. In this paper I want to defend the ancient - and common-sense - position that rationalization is a species of ordinary causal explanation. The defense no doubt requires some redeployment, but not more or less complete abandonment of the position, as (...) urged by many recent writers. (shrink)
People reason not just in beliefs, but also in intentions, preferences, and other attitudes. They form preferences from existing preferences, or intentions from existing beliefs and intentions, and so on, often facing choices between rival conclusions. Building on Broome (2013) and Dietrich et al. (2019), we present a philosophical and formal analysis of reasoning in attitudes with or without facing such choices. Reasoning in attitudes is a mental activity that differs fundamentally from reasoning about attitudes, a form (...) of theoretical reasoning by which one discovers rather than forms attitudes. Reasoning in attitudes has standard formal features (such as monotonicity), but is indeterministic (reflecting choice in reasoning). Like theoretical reasoning, it need not follow logical entailment, but for different reasons related to indeterminism. This makes reasoning in attitudes harder to model logically than theoretical reasoning. (shrink)
There is a surprising disconnect between formal rational choice theory and philosophical work on reasons. The one is silent on the role of reasons in rational choices, the other rarely engages with the formal models of decision problems used by social scientists. To bridge this gap, we propose a new, reason-based theory of rational choice. At its core is an account of preference formation, according to which an agent’s preferences are determined by his or her motivating reasons, together with a (...) ‘weighing relation’ between different combinations of reasons. By explaining how someone’s preferences may vary with changes in his or her motivating reasons, our theory illuminates the relationship between deliberation about reasons and rational choices. Although primarily positive, the theory can also help us think about how those preferences and choices ought to respond to normative reasons. (shrink)
Beginning with a discussion of the Informal Logic Movement and the renewed interest in critical thinking in education, this book critically assesses the work of Robert Ennis, Richard Paul and John McPeck.
As Kant claimed in the Groundwork, and as the idea has been developed by Korsgaard 1997, Bratman 1987, and Broome 2002. This formulation is agnostic on whether reasons for ends derive from our desiring those ends, or from the relation of those ends to things of independent value. However, desire-based theorists may deny, against Hubin 1999, that their theory is a combination of a principle of instrumental transmission and the principle that reasons for ends are provided by desires. Instead, they (...) may say, there is just one principle, a principle of, if you will, instrumental transmutation: if one desires the end, then one has reason to take the means. See the discussion of General Production, in section 8, for a doubt about this. (shrink)
In this volume, John Horty brings to bear his work in logic to present a framework that allows for answers to key questions about reasons and reasoning, namely: What are reasons, and how do they support actions or conclusions?
Scientific reasoning is—and ought to be—conducted in accordance with the axioms of probability. This Bayesian view—so called because of the central role it accords to a theorem first proved by Thomas Bayes in the late eighteenth ...
Bill Brewer presents an original view of the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of empirical knowledge. He argues that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs if there are to be any determinate beliefs at all about particular objects in the world. This fresh approach to epistemology turns away from the search for necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge and works instead from a theory of understanding in a particular area.
The paper discusses the principle by which we reason to what is ‘true in fiction’. The focus is David Lewis's article ‘Truth in Fiction’ (1978) which proposes an analysis in terms of counterfactuals and possible worlds. It is argued thatLewis's account is inadequate in detail and also in principle in that it conflicts radically with basic and familiar tenets of literary criticism. Literary critical reasoning about fiction concerns not the discovery of facts in possible worlds but the recovery of (...) meanings in interpretative frameworks. The model theoretic approach fails to account for common literary or rhetorical devices like unreliable narration, connotation and point of view. And in explaining indeterminacy of content in terms of truth-value gaps it gives too simplistic an account of critical reasoning about character motivation and thematic development. A more adequate account of content-indeterminacy can be provided through a comparison of the interpretation of fiction with the interpretation of human action. A broader motif in the paper is the underlying tension between what is required for the logic of fiction and what is required for the aesthetics of fiction. (shrink)
One reasons not just in beliefs, but also in intentions, preferences, and other attitudes. For instance, one forms preferences from preferences, or intentions from beliefs and preferences. Formal logic has proved useful for modelling reasoning in beliefs -- a process of forming beliefs from beliefs. Can logic also model reasoning in multiple attitudes? We identify principled obstacles. Logic can model reasoning about one's attitudes -- a process of discovering attitudes -- but not reasoning in attitudes -- (...) a process of forming attitudes. Beliefs are special attitudes in that logic can model both reasoning about beliefs and reasoning in beliefs, namely as entailment between beliefs or entailment between belief contents, respectively. This makes beliefs the privileged target of logic as applied to psychology. (shrink)
Some prominent evidentialists argue that practical considerations cannot be normative reasons for belief because they can’t be motivating reasons for belief. Existing pragmatist responses turn out to depend on the assumption that it’s possible to believe in the absence of evidence. The evidentialist may deny this, at which point the debate ends in an impasse. I propose a new strategy for the pragmatist. This involves conceding that belief in the absence of evidence is impossible. We then argue that evidence can (...) play a role in bringing about belief without being a motivating reason for belief, thereby leaving room for practical considerations to serve as motivating reasons. I present two ways in which this can happen. First, agents can use evidence as a mere means by which to believe, with practical considerations serving as motivating reasons for belief, just as we use tools (e.g. a brake pedal) as mere means by which to do something (e.g. slow down) which we are motivated to do for practical reasons. Second, evidence can make it possible for one to choose whether or not to believe – a choice one can then make for practical reasons. These arguments push the debate between the evidentialist and the pragmatist into new territory. It is no longer enough for an evidentialist to insist that belief is impossible without evidence. Even if this is right, the outcome of the debate remains unsettled. It will hang on the ability of the evidentialist to respond to the new pragmatist strategy presented here. (shrink)
Since the seventeenth century, Western society has had a turbulent relationship with Reason. Descartes set out to reorganize all his opinions in the light of Reason, allowing, as Pascal bitterly reproached him, nothing else. In the course of the centuries which followed, the relationship with Reason became the object of a vigorous, often passionate debate. David Hume declared Reason to be impotent; Immanuel Kant observed that men suffered from "misology" as the result of their disappointed expectations of Reason; G. W. (...) F. Hegel declared that the main insight of philosophy consisted of the realization that reason masterminded and guided all history. The debate has not remained restricted to philosophy. Max Weber, the most influential modern sociologist, was obsessed with the distinctive role of Reason in Western society, and the part it played in engendering industrialism. Social anthropologists have been preoccupied both with the universality and the diversity of conceptual thought. Emile Durkheim taught them to ask why all men were rational, whilst Max Weber taught sociologists to ask why some men were more rational than others. This book brings together the philosophical, historical and sociological discussions of rationality and strives to make clear the underlying issues and the continuity of the debate under the various idioms. (shrink)
This book defends a new interpretation of Hegel's theoretical philosophy, according to which Hegel's project in his central Science of Logic has a single organizing focus, provided by taking metaphysics as fundamental to philosophy, rather than any epistemological problem about knowledge or intentionality. Hegel pursues more specifically the metaphysics of reason, concerned with grounds, reasons, or conditions in terms of which things can be explained-and ultimately with the possibility of complete reasons. There is no threat to such metaphysics in epistemological (...) or skeptical worries. The real threat is Kant's Transcendental Dialectic case that metaphysics comes into conflict with itself. But Hegel, despite familiar worries, has a powerful case that Kant's own insights in the Dialectic can be turned to the purpose of constructive metaphysics. And we can understand in these terms the unified focus of the arguments at the conclusion of Hegel's Science of Logic. Hegel defends, first, his general claim that the reasons which explain things are always found in immanent concepts, universals or kinds. And he will argue from here to conclusions which are distinctive in being metaphysically ambitious yet surprisingly distant from any form of metaphysical foundationalism, whether scientistic, theological, or otherwise. Hegel's project, then, turns out neither Kantian nor Spinozist, but more distinctively his own. Finally, we can still learn a great deal from Hegel about ongoing philosophical debates concerning everything from metaphysics, to the philosophy of science, and all the way to the nature of philosophy itself. (shrink)
The paper argues that normative reasons are of two fundamental kinds, practical which are value related, and adaptive, which are not related to any value, but indicate how our beliefs and emotions should adjust to fit how things are in the world. The distinction is applied and defended, in part through an additional distinction between standard and non-standard reasons (for actions, intentions, emotions or belief).
Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality, because there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about your past that aren't part of (...) your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. On his account, the locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationality demands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions. (shrink)
Practical Reason and Norms focuses on three problems: In what way are rules normative, and how do they differ from ordinary reasons? What makes normative systems systematic? What distinguishes legal systems, and in what consists their normativity? All three questions are answered by taking reasons as the basic normative concept, and showing the distinctive role reasons have in every case, thus paving the way to a unified account of normativity. Rules are a structure of reasons to perform the required act (...) and an exclusionary reason not to follow some competing reasons. Exclusionary reasons are explained, and used to unlock the secrets of orders, promises, and decisions as well as rules. Games are used to exemplify normative systems. Inevitably, the analysis extends to some aspects of normative discourse, which is truth-apt, but with a diminished assertoric force. (shrink)
The topic of “reason and faith in God” has challenged philosophers and theologians since the beginning of their disciplines, and it has left many inquirers confused. The key notions of faith and reason are often left unclear, and this complicates inquiry about faith in God. Many inquirers end up puzzled about the significance of the distinction between reason and faith. This paper outlines an approach to reason and faith in God that explains how faith in God can be well-grounded in (...) reason as evidence, even if reason as an argument does not apply in a case. It identifies distinctive roles for experience and defense in an account of faith in God. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary work is a collection of major essays on reasoning: deductive, inductive, abductive, belief revision, defeasible, cross cultural, conversational, and argumentative. They are each oriented toward contemporary empirical studies. The book focuses on foundational issues, including paradoxes, fallacies, and debates about the nature of rationality, the traditional modes of reasoning, as well as counterfactual and causal reasoning. It also includes chapters on the interface between reasoning and other forms of thought. In general, this last set (...) of essays represents growth points in reasoning research, drawing connections to pragmatics, cross-cultural studies, emotion and evolution. (shrink)
Henry Richardson argues that we can determine our ends rationally. He constructs a rich and original theory of how we can reason about our final goals. Richardson defuses the counter-arguments for the limits of rational deliberation, and develops interesting ideas about how his model might be extended to interpersonal deliberation of ends, taking him to the borders of political theory. Along the way Richardson offers illuminating discussions of, inter alia, Aristotle, Aquinas, Sidgwick, and Dewey, as well as the work of (...) several contemporary philosophers. (shrink)
Justin Snedegar develops and defends contrastivism about reasons. This is the view that normative reasons are fundamentally reasons for or against actions or attitudes only relative to sets of alternatives. Simply put, reasons are always reasons to do one thing rather than another, instead of simply being reasons to do something, full stop.
David Enoch, in his paper “Why Idealize?”, argues that theories of normative reasons that hold that normative facts are subject or response-dependent and include an idealization condition might have a problem in justifying the need for idealization. I argue that at least some response-dependence conceptions of normative reasons can justify idealization. I explore two ways of responding to Enoch’s challenge. One way involves a revisionary stance on the ontological commitments of the normative discourse about reasons. To establish this point, I (...) argue by analogy with the case of color perception. To make the analogy, it suffices to show that even if colors are response-dependent properties, it does not follow that some kind of idealization cannot be introduced to specify the truth conditions of color ascriptions. The second route involves the denial of Enoch’s contention that our normative discourse is implicitly committed to a realist ontology. I adduce reasons for thinking that our normative discourse only presupposes a possibility of misrepresentation. However, this feature of the normative discourse does not favor robustly objectivist as opposed to response-dependence accounts of normative reasons. Thus, I argue that proponents of response-dependence accounts can use this feature to answer the question of why to idealize. (shrink)
Joel Feinberg : In Memoriam. Preface. Part I: INTRODUCTION TO THE NATURE AND VALUE OF PHILOSOPHY. 1. Joel Feinberg: A Logic Lesson. 2. Plato: "Apology." 3. Bertrand Russell: The Value of Philosophy. PART II: REASON AND RELIGIOUS BELIEF. 1. The Existence and Nature of God. 1.1 Anselm of Canterbury: The Ontological Argument, from Proslogion. 1.2 Gaunilo of Marmoutiers: On Behalf of the Fool. 1.3 L. Rowe: The Ontological Argument. 1.4 Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Five Ways, from Summa Theologica. 1.5 Samuel (...) Clarke: A Modern Formulation of the Cosmological Argument. 1.6 William L. Rowe: The Cosmological Argument. 1.7 William Paley: The Argument from Design. 1.8 Michael Ruse: The Design Argument. 1.9 David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. 2. The Problem of Evil. 2.1 Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Rebellion. 2.2 J. L. Mackie: Evil and Omnipotence. 2.3 Peter van Inwagen: The Argument from Evil. 2.4 Michael Murray and Michael Rea: The Argument from Evil. 2.5 B. C. Johnson: God and the Problem of Evil. 3. Reason and Faith. 3.1 W. K. Clifford: The Ethics of Belief. 3.2 William James: The Will to Believe. 3.3 Kelly James Clark: Without Evidence or Argument. 3.4 Blaise Pascal: The Wager. 3.5 Lawrence Shapiro: Miracles and Justification. 3.6 Simon Blackburn: Infini-Rien. Part III. HUMAN KNOWLEDGE: ITS GROUNDS AND LIMITS. 1. Skepticism. 1.1 John Pollock: A Brain in a Vat. 1.2 Michael Huemer: Three Skeptical Arguments. 1.3 Robert Audi: Skepticism. 2. The Nature and Value of Knowledge. 2.1 Plato: Knowledge as Justified True Belief. 2.2 Edmund Gettier: Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? 2.3 James Cornman, Keith Lehrer, and George Pappas: An Analysis of Knowledge. 2.4 Gilbert Ryle: Knowing How and Knowing That. 2.5 Plato: "Meno". 2.6 Linda Zagzebski, Epistemic Good and The Good Life. 3. Our Knowledge of the External World. 3.1 Bertrand Russell: Appearance and Reality and the Existence of Matter. 3.2 René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy. 3.3 John Locke: The Causal Theory of Perception. 3.4 George Berkeley: Of the Principles of Human Knowledge. 3.5 G. E. Moore: Proof of an External World. 4. The Methods of Science. 4.1 David Hume: An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding. 4.2 Wesley C. Salmon: An Encounter with David Hume. 4.3 Karl Popper: Science: Conjectures and Refutations. 4.4 Philip Kitcher: Believing Where We Cannot Prove. Part IV: MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE. 1. The Mind-Body Problem. 1.1 Brie Gertler: In Defense of Mind--Body Dualism. 1.2 Frank Jackson: The Qualia Problem. 1.3 David Papineau: The Case for Materialism. 1.4 Paul Churchland: Functionalism and Eliminative Materialism. 2. Can Non-Humans Think? 2.1 Alan Turing: Computing Machinery and Intelligence. 2.2 John R. Searle: Minds, Brains, and Programs. 2.3 William G. Lycan: Robots and Minds. 3. Personal Identity and the Survival of Death. 3.1 John Locke: The Prince and the Cobbler. 3.2 Thomas Reid: Of Mr. Locke’s Account of Our Personal Identity. 3.3 David Hume: The Self. 3.4 Derek Parfit: Divided Minds and the Nature of Persons. 3.5 Shelly Kagan: What Matters. 3.6 John Perry: A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality. Part V: DETERMINISM, FREE WILL, AND RESPONSIBILITY. 1. Libertarianism: The Case for Free Will and Its Incompatibility with Determinism. 1.1 Roderick M. Chisholm: Human Freedom and the Self. 1.2 Robert Kane: Free Will: Ancient Dispute, New Themes. 2. Hard Determinism: The Case for Determinism and its Incompatibility with Its Incompatibility with Any Important Sense of Free Will. 2.1 James Rachels: The case against Free Will. 2.2 Derk Pereboom: Why We Have No Free Will and Can Live Without It. 3. Compatibilism: The Case for Determinism and Its Compatibility with the Most Important Sense of Free Will. 3.1 David Hume: Of Liberty and Necessity. 3.2 Helen Beebee: Compatibilism and the Ability to do Otherwise. 4. Freedom and Moral Responsibility. 4.1 Galen Strawson: Luck Swallows Everything. 4.2 Harry Frankfurt: Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility. 4.3 Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck. 4.4 Susan Wolf: Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility. Part VI: MORALITY AND ITS CRITICS. 1. Changes to Morality. 1.1 Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism. 1.2 Plato: The Immoralist’s Challenge. 1.3 Friedrich Nietzche: Master and Slave Morality. 1.4 Richard Joyce: The Evolutionary Debunking of Morality. 2. Proposed Standards and Right of Conduct. 2.1 Russ Shafer-Landau: Ethical Subjectivism. 2.2 Mary Midgley: Trying Out One’s New Sword. 2.3 Aristotle: Virtue and the Good Life. 2.4 Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan. 2.5 Plato: Euthyphro. 2.6 Immanuel Kant: The Good Will and the Categorical Imperative. 2.7 J.S. Mill: Utilitarianism, Chapters 2 and 4. 2.8 W. D. Ross: What Makes Right Acts Right? 2.9 Hilde Lindemann: What Is Feminist Ethics? 3. Ethical Problems. 3.1 Kwame Anthony Appiah: What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For? 3.2 Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality. 3.3 John Harris: The Survival Lottery. 3.4 James Rachels: Active and Passive Euthanasia. 3.5 Mary Anne Warren: The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion. 3.6 Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral. 4. The Meaning of Life. 4.1 Epicurus: Letter to Menoeceus. 4.2 Richard Taylor: The Meaning of Life. 4.3 Richard Kraut: Desire and the Human Good. 4.4 Leo Tolstoy: My Confession. 4.5 Susan Wolf: Happiness and Meaning. 4.6 Thomas Nagel: The Absurd. (shrink)
Reason and Value collects fifteen brand-new papers by leading contemporary philosophers on themes from the moral philosophy of Joseph Raz. The subtlety and power of Raz's reflections on ethical topics - including especially his explorations of the connections between practical reason and the theory of value - make his writings a fertile source for anyone working in this area. The volume honours Raz's accomplishments in the area of ethical theorizing, and will contribute to an enhanced appreciation of the significance of (...) his work for the subject. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue for a particular informative and unified analysis of normative reasons. According to this analysis, a fact F is a reason to act in a certain way just in case it is evidence that one ought to act in that way. Similarly, F is a reason to believe a certain proposition just in case it is evidence for the truth of this proposition. Putting the relatively uncontroversial claim about reasons for belief to one side, we present (...) several arguments in favor of our analysis of reasons for action. We then turn to consider a series of objections to the analysis. We conclude that there are good reasons to accept the analysis and that the objections do not succeed. (shrink)
Although the study of reasons plays an important role in both epistemology and moral philosophy, little attention has been devoted to the question of how, exactly, reasons interact to support the actions or conclusions they do. In this book, John F. Horty attempts to answer this question by providing a precise, concrete account of reasons and their interaction, based on the logic of default reasoning. The book begins with an intuitive, accessible introduction to default logic itself, and then argues (...) that this logic can be adapted to serve as a foundation for a concrete theory of reasons. Horty then shows that the resulting theory helps to explain how the interplay among reasons can determine what we ought to do by developing two different deontic logics, capturing two different intuitions about moral conflicts.In the central part of the book, Horty elaborates the basic theory to account for reasoning about the strength of our own reasons, and also about the related concepts of undercutting defeaters and exclusionary reasons. The theory is illustrated with an application to particularist arguments concerning the role of principles in moral theory. The book concludes by introducing a pair of issues new to the philosophical literature: the problem of determining the epistemic status of conclusions supported by separate but conflicting reasons, and the problem of drawing conclusions from sets of reasons that can vary arbitrarily in strength, or importance. (shrink)
Many philosophers have been attracted to the view that reasons are premises of good reasoning – that reasons to φ are premises of good reasoning towards φ-ing. However, while this reasoning view is indeed attractive, it faces a problem accommodating outweighed reasons. In this article, I argue that the standard solution to this problem is unsuccessful and propose an alternative, which draws on the idea that good patterns of reasoning can be defeasible. I conclude by drawing (...) out implications for the debate over pragmatic reasons for belief and other attitudes and for one influential form of reductionism about the normative. (shrink)
What kind of thing is a reason for action? What is it to act for a reason? And what is the connection between acting for a reason and rationality? There is controversy about the many issues raised by these questions. In this paper I shall answer the first question with a conception of practical reasons that I call ‘Factualism’, which says that all reasons are facts. I defend this conception against its main rival, Psychologism, which says that practical reasons are (...) mental states or mental facts, and also against a variant of Factualism that says that some practical reasons are facts and others are false beliefs. I argue that the conception of practical reasons defended here provides plausible answers to the second and third questions above; and gives a more unified and satisfactory picture of practical reasons than those offered by its rivals. (shrink)
When ordinary people--mathematicians among them--take something to follow from something else, they are exposing the backbone of our self-ascribed ability to reason. Jody Azzouni investigates the connection between that ordinary notion of consequence and the formal analogues invented by logicians. One claim of the book is that, despite our apparent intuitive grasp of consequence, we do not introspect rules by which we reason, nor do we grasp the scope and range of the domain, as it were, of our reasoning. (...) This point is illustrated with a close analysis of a paradigmatic case of ordinary reasoning: mathematical proof. (shrink)
A clear, accessible exploration of how and why we love by prominent philosopher and bestselling author Harry Frankfurt In The Reasons of Love, leading moral philosopher and bestselling author Harry Frankfurt argues that the key to a fulfilled life is to pursue wholeheartedly what one cares about, that love is the most authoritative form of caring, and that the purest form of love is, in a complicated way, self-love. Through caring, we infuse the world with meaning. Caring provides us with (...) stable ambitions and concerns; it shapes the framework of aims and interests within which we lead our lives. Frankfurt goes on to explain that the most important form of caring is love, a nonvoluntary, disinterested concern for the flourishing of what is loved. And he contends that the purest form of love is self-love. This sounds perverse, but self-love—as distinct from self-indulgence—is at heart a disinterested concern for whatever it is that the person loves. The most elementary form of self-love is nothing more than the desire of a person to love. Insofar as this is true, self-love is simply a commitment to finding meaning in our lives. (shrink)
Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. These essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. Engaging Reason is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
We call beliefs reasonable or unreasonable, justified or unjustified. What does this imply about belief? Does this imply that we are responsible for our beliefs and that we should be blamed for our unreasonable convictions? Or does it imply that we are in control of our beliefs and that what we believe is up to us? Reason Without Freedom argues that the major problems of epistemology have their roots in concerns about our control over and responsibility for belief. David Owens (...) focuses on the arguments of Descartes, Locke and Hume - the founders of epistemology - and presents a critical discussion of the current trends in contemporary epistemology. He proposes that the problems we confront today - scepticism, the analysis of knowlege, and debates on epistemic justification - can be tackled only once we have understood the moral psychology of belief. This can be resolved when we realise that our responsibility for beliefs is profoundly different from our rationality and agency, and that memory and testimony can preserve justified belief without preserving the evidence which might be used to justify it. Reason Without Freedom should be of value to those interested in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of mind and action, ethics, and the history of 17th and 18th century. (shrink)
A promising but underexplored view about normative reasons is contrastivism, which holds that considerations are fundamentally reasons for things only relative to sets of alternatives. Contrastivism gains an advantage over non-contrastive theories by holding that reasons relative to different sets of alternatives can be independent of one another. But this feature also raises a serious problem: we need some way of constraining this independence. I develop a version of contrastivism that provides the needed constraints, and that is independently motivated by (...) the widespread idea that reasons involve the promotion of various kinds of objectives. (shrink)
Contrastivism about reasons is the view that ‘reason’ expresses a relation with an argument place for a set of alternatives. This is in opposition to a more traditional theory on which reasons are reasons for things simpliciter. I argue that contrastivism provides a solution to a puzzle involving reason claims that explicitly employ ‘rather than’. Contrastivism solves the puzzle by allowing that some fact might be a reason for an action out of one set of alternatives without being a reason (...) for that action out of a different set of alternatives. (shrink)
The cognitive developmental theory of ethics suggests that there is a positive relationship between ethical reasoning and ethical behavior. In this study, we trained a sample of accounting and finance students in performing competitive stock trading in our state-of-the-art trading room. The subjects then performed trading of stocks under two experimental conditions: insider information, and no-insider information where significant performance-based financial awards were at stake. We also administered the Defining Issues Test. Ethical behavior, as the dependent variable was measured (...) in a binary scale: whether the subjects used insider information for trading of stocks or not. Ethical reasoning as measured by the DIT P-score indicated statistically significant effect on ethical behavior. The results have important implications for recruitment and training of professionals engaged in the use of financial markets for securities trading. (shrink)
Ethics Done Right examines how practical reasoning can be put into the service of ethical and moral theory. Elijah Millgram shows that the key to thinking about ethics is to understand generally how to make decisions. The papers in this volume support a methodological approach and trace the connections between two kinds of theory in utilitarianism, in Kantian ethics, in virtue ethics, in Hume's moral philosophy, and in moral particularism. Unlike other studies of ethics, Ethics Done Right does not (...) advocate a particular moral theory. Rather, it offers a tool that enables one to decide for oneself. (shrink)
ABSTRACT A long debate in aesthetics concerns the reasoned nature of criticism. The main questions in the debate ask whether criticism is based on reasons, whether critics communicate reasons for their audience’s responses, and, if so, how to understand these critical reasons. I argue that a great obstacle to making any progress in this debate is the deeply engrained assumption, shared by all sides of the debate, that reasons can only be either theoretical reasons or practical reasons. My aims are (...) to put pressure on this assumption that, if there are critical reasons, they must be either theoretical or practical, and to suggest that, if there are critical reasons, the most central among them are neither theoretical nor practical. (shrink)
What can reason do for us and what can't it do? This is the question examined by Herbert A. Simon, who received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences "for his pioneering work on decision-making processes in economic organizations." The ability to apply reason to the choice of actions is supposed to be one of the defining characteristics of our species. In the first two chapters, the author explores the nature and limits of human reason, comparing and evaluating the major (...) theoretical frameworks that have been erected to explain reasoning processes. He also discusses the interaction of thinking and emotion in the choice of our actions. In the third and final chapter, the author applies the theory of bounded rationality to social institutions and human behavior, and points out the problems created by limited attention span human inability to deal with more than one difficult problem at a time. He concludes that we must recognize the limitations on our capabilities for rational choice and pursue goals that, in their tentativeness and flexibility, are compatible with those limits. (shrink)
Some conspicuous characteristics of argumentation as we all know this phenomenon from our shared everyday experiences are in my view vital to its theoretical treatment because they should have methodological consequences for the way in which argumentation research is conducted. To start with, argumentation is in the first place a communicative act complex, which is realized by making functional verbal communicative moves.
The philosophical literature on reasoning is dominated by the assumption that reasoning is essentially a matter of following rules. This paper challenges this view, by arguing that it misrepresents the nature of reasoning as a personal level activity. Reasoning must reflect the reasoner’s take on her evidence. The rule-following model seems ill-suited to accommodate this fact. Accordingly, this paper suggests replacing the rule-following model with a different, semantic approach to reasoning.
I defend the view that a reason for someone to do something is just a reason why she ought to do it. This simple view has been thought incompatible with the existence of reasons to do things that we may refrain from doing or even ought not to do. For it is widely assumed that there are reasons why we ought to do something only if we ought to do it. I present several counterexamples to this principle and reject some (...) ways of understanding "ought" so that the principle is compatible with my examples. I conclude with a hypothesis for when and why the principle should be expected to fail. (shrink)
This volume brings together for the first time the highly influential essays, many of them classics, of one of the most prominent scholars in social philosophy and feminist theory. These essays provide a compelling view of many of the major trends in social theory over the past fifteen years—trends that Linda Nicholson herself helped to shape. The Play of Reason examines the legacies of modernity in contemporary political, social, and feminist thought and the unraveling of these legacies in postmodern times. (...) Linda Nicholson first focuses on the tension in modern social theory between attempts to recognize change and diversity and struggles to capture such change in overarching frameworks of meaning and value. She illuminates the consequences of these conflicting tendencies in relation to Marxism, feminist theory, and classical liberal accounts of the family and the state. Nicholson then asks how theory and the resolution of difference are possible after such overarching frameworks are abandoned. She shows how a pragmatic understanding of theory answers widespread fears about relativism. The Play of Reason is a powerful demonstration of a politically engaged social theory. (shrink)
In Reasons and the Good Roger Crisp answers some of the oldest questions in moral philosophy. Fundamental to ethics, he claims, is the idea of ultimate reasons for action; and he argues controversially that these reasons do not depend on moral concepts. He investigates the nature of reasons themselves, and how we come to know them. He defends a hedonistic theory of well-being and an account of practical reason according to which we can give some, though not overriding, priority to (...) our own good over that of others. (shrink)