Chapter

Reasons for Action

Roger A. Shiner

in Norm and Nature

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780198257196
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681721 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198257196.003.0004

Series: Clarendon Law Series

Reasons for Action

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The thought behind Raz's notion of ‘exclusionary reason’ in relation to law can be put more generally. Instrumental rationality represents practical reasoning as homogeneous. One ought always, all things considered, to do whatever one ought to do on the balance of reasons. Any reason is in principle capable of being weighed in the balance against any other reason, and bears upon a practical decision in logically the same way as any other reason. Raz rejects this logical homogeneity, distinguishing two different kinds of practical reasons: first-order and second-order. He has two arguments for the existence of exclusionary reasons – the Functional Argument and the Phenomenological Argument – which are discussed in this chapter. The Functional Argument rests on the idea that rules, and a fortiori legal rules, cannot perform the function that they perform unless their role in practical reasoning is construed as that of exclusionary reasons. The Phenomenological Argument rests on the idea that aspects of the internal content of practical reasoning cannot be accounted for unless the role of rules, and a fortiori legal rules, in practical reasoning is construed as that of exclusionary reasons.

Keywords: Raz; legal philosophy; Functional Argument; Phenomenological Argument; legal rules; practical reasoning; exclusionary reasons

Chapter.  7697 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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