Kinds of Reasons: An Essay in the Philosophy of Action

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $56.94
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 22%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $56.94   
  • New (4) from $56.94   


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.

Read More Show Less

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.

Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)