Kinds of Reasons: An Essay in the Philosophy of Action

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Overview

Understanding human beings and their distinctive rational and volitional capacities is one of the central tasks of philosophy. In Kinds of Reasons, Maria Alvarez offers a fresh and incisive treatment of this subject, focusing on reasons as they feature in contexts of agency. Building on some important recent work in the area, and drawing on the writings of G. E. M. Anscombe, Alvarez's arguments run counter to the orthodoxy that has dominated the theory of action for the past forty years. Bold, painstaking, lucid, and direct, Kinds of Reasons stakes out a distinctive position in one of the most hotly contested areas of contemporary philosophy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199550005
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Maria Alvarez is Reader in Philosophy at King's College London. She has previously lectured at the University of Southampton, University of Oxford, and University of Reading.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Reasons 7

Introduction 7

1.1 Reasons and Normativity 9

1.2 Reasons and Roles 27

Conclusion 30

2 Reasons, Kinds, Ontology 32

Introduction 32

2.1 How Many Kinds of Reasons? 33

2.2 Ontology: Reasons, Facts, Truths 40

Conclusion 51

3 Motivation and Desires 53

Introduction 53

3.1 The Concept of Motivation 53

3.2 Are Desires Motivating Reasons? 63

3.3 What Is a Desire? 65

3.4 The Ambiguity of 'Desire' 87

Conclusion 88

4 Desires and Motivating Reasons 90

Introduction 90

4.1 What Is Desired and Motivating Reasons 91

4.2 Having Rational Desires and Motivating Reasons 100

4.3 Having Bodily Desires and Motivating Reasons 111

4.4 Desiring and Motivation 118

Conclusion 122

5 Beliefs and Motivating Reasons 124

Introduction 124

5.1 Two Conceptions of Motivating Reasons 124

5.2 A Non-Psychological Conception of Motivating Reasons 131

5.3 Error Cases and Motivating Reasons 135

5.4 What Is Believed 147

5.5 True Beliefs, False Beliefs, and Motivating Reasons 154

5.6 Beliefs and Motivation 158

Conclusion 163

6 The Explanation of Action 165

Introduction 165

6.1 The Variety of Action Explanations 166

6.2 Reason Explanations of Action 170

6.3 The Relation between Reason and Humean Explanations of Action 181

6.4 Non-Humean Psychological Explanations of Action 185

6.5 Purposive Explanations 191

Conclusion 197

Conclusion 199

References 201

Index 207

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