Thinking and Doing

Robert J. Fogelin

in Philosophical Interpretations

Published in print April 1992 | ISBN: 9780195071627
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833221 | DOI:
Thinking and Doing

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Taking some remarks by Aristotle on the practical syllogism as the starting point, this essay offers an account of how thought can be connected with action and how this connection between thought and action can be adverbially modified. The key idea is that a practical syllogism is composed of a factual premise, a premise that is a conditional imperative, and a conclusion that is an unconditional imperative. The practical reasoner reasons as follows: Wanting drink, a person accepts the conditional imperative “If this is drink, drink it!” and then, because he believes this is drink, he accepts the unconditional imperative “Drink it!” Adverbs of excuse of the kind that J. L. Austin studied can then be explained by noting the ways in which the connection between thought and action can be defective.

Keywords: Aristotle; Austin; conditional imperatives; excuses; practical syllogisms; unconditional imperatives

Chapter.  6738 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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