Chapter

Acting for a Good Reason

Jonathan Dancy

in Practical Reality

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253050
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597282 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199253056.003.0005
Acting for a Good Reason

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Argues that motivating reasons are not mental states of the agent but (real or supposed) states of affairs. The main argument for this appeals to the normative realism established earlier. Since a reason to act (a good reason) is a state of affairs, the reasons in the light of which we act must also be capable of being states of affairs, for otherwise it would be impossible to act for a good reason. Our reasons are what we believe rather than that we so believe, or our so believing. I also consider and reject the view that our motivating reasons are the contents of our beliefs; in this context, I argue that a good reason cannot be a proposition.

Keywords: motivating reasons; motivation; normative realism; reasons and propositions; state of affairs

Chapter.  10022 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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