Reasons for Action

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Overview

What are our reasons for acting? Morality purports to give us these reasons, and so do norms of prudence and the laws of society. The theory of practical reason assesses the authority of these potentially competing claims, and for this reason philosophers with a wide range of interests have converged on the topic of reasons for action. This volume contains eleven new essays on practical reason by leading and emerging philosophers. Topics include the differences between practical and theoretical rationality, practical conditionals and the wide-scope ought, the explanation of action, the sources of reasons, and the relationship between morality and reasons for action. The volume will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in ethics and practical reason.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sobel and Wall's collection Reasons for Action brings together twelve important essays about reasons for action, practical reasoning, and rational choice, by some of the leading philosophers in the field today (as well as a useful introduction by the editors themselves). The essays approach these issues from several different points of view, but every one of these essays is an illuminating contribution to the contemporary debates. Everyone who is seriously interested in these questions will find their understanding enriched by a careful study of these essays."
—Ralph Wedgwood, University of Oxford
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521877466
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Sobel is Robert R. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and the Moral Sciences at the University of Nebraska.

Steven Wall is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

Notes on the contributors page vii

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction David Sobel Steven Wall 1

2 Intention, belief, and instrumental rationality Michael E. Bratman 13

3 Reasons: practical and adaptive Joseph Raz 37

4 The explanatory role of being rational Michael Smith 58

5 Practical competence and fluent agency Peter Railton 81

6 Practical conditionals James Dreier 116

7 Authority and second-personal reasons for acting Stephen Darwall 134

8 Promises, reasons, and normative powers Gary Watson 155

9 Regret and irrational action Justin D'Arms Daniel Jacobson 179

10 Mackie's motivational argument Philip Clark 200

11 The truth in Ecumenical Expressivism Michael Ridge 219

12 Voluntarist reasons and the sources of normativity Ruth Chang 243

Bibliography 272

Index 285

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