Rowland Stout

in Things That Happen Because They Should

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780198240631
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680212 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs


Show Summary Details


This book argues that intentional actions are unique among natural phenomena in that they happen because they should happen. This is not to say that they happen because they ought to morally, although perhaps they sometimes do. It is to say that there are ways of evaluating actions as rational or irrational, as justified or unjustified; and it is because they are rational or justified, according to such a way of evaluating things, that they happen. This is a highly controversial thesis; it amounts to saying that value has a causal role to play in nature. It goes against the orthodox view that evaluations are only projected on to the world by people; they are not part of the fabric of nature and so cannot themselves make anything happen.

Keywords: intentional actions; natural phenomena; rationality; causality; value; evaluations; justification; nature

Chapter.  2128 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.