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The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality

Overview

The literature on theoretical reason has been dominated by epistemological concerns, treatments of practical reason by ethical concerns. This book overcomes the limitations of dealing with each separately. It sets out a comprehensive theory of rationality applicable to both practical and theoretical reason. In both domains, Audi explains how experience grounds rationality, delineates the structure of central elements, and attacks the egocentric conception of rationality. He establishes the rationality of altruism...

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Overview

The literature on theoretical reason has been dominated by epistemological concerns, treatments of practical reason by ethical concerns. This book overcomes the limitations of dealing with each separately. It sets out a comprehensive theory of rationality applicable to both practical and theoretical reason. In both domains, Audi explains how experience grounds rationality, delineates the structure of central elements, and attacks the egocentric conception of rationality. He establishes the rationality of altruism and thereby supports major moral principles. The concluding part describes the pluralism and relativity his conception of rationality accommodates and, taking the unified account of theoretical and practical rationality in that light, constructs a theory of global rationality—the overall rationality of persons. Rich in narrative examples, intriguing analogies, and intuitively appealing arguments, this beautifully crafted book will spur advances in ethics and epistemology as well in philosophy of mind and action and the theory of rationality itself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Robert Audi's new book is magisterial in tone and subject matter. It attempts nothing less than a unified account of reason. It displays his customary wisdom, restraint, and balanced judgement. And, like his other works, it is written impeccably, indeed elegantly."—Panayot Butchvarov, University of Iowa.

"Audi has produced a work of breathtakingly broad scope. He has given us a completely general theory of rationality—of belief, desires, action, and persons. By viewing these forms of rationality together he reveals surprising commonalities, and by integrating these diverse applications he enables each part of the scene to throw light on the others. On the one hand, the book provides meticulous and discriminating treatment of both familiar and new issues concerning belief, intrinsic and instrumental values, the relation of desire, belief, and action, and much more. But this is all carried out in the context of the larger scheme in which the particular problems are seen from the standpoint of the overarching account of rationality. This work will be the focus of discussions of rationality for some time to come." —William P. Alston, Syracuse University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195158427
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2002
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Audi is Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His books include The Structure of Justification (1993), Action, Intention, and Reason (1993), Moral Knowledge and Ethical Character (Oxford, 1997) and The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd Ed., 1999).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Experience and Reason 3
I Theoretical Reason
1 Groundwork 13
2 Superstructure 32
II Practical Reason
3 Action, Belief, and Desire 61
4 The Sources of Practical Reasons 81
5 Desires, Intentions, and Reasons for Action 108
6 Others as Ends 135
III Rationality and Relativity
7 Relativity, Plurality, and Culture 171
8 Global Rationality 195
Conclusion 227
Notes 235
Index 277
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