Reasons, Kinds, Ontology

Maria Alvarez

in Kinds of Reasons

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199550005
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720239 | DOI:
Reasons, Kinds, Ontology

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines various kinds of reasons. It classifies reasons into three kinds: justifying, motivating, and explanatory, on account of the three main roles that reasons can play outlined in the previous chapter. It emphasizes the importance of keeping apart the motivating and explanatory roles of reasons, because conflating them has led to a number of mistakes and confused arguments.

It further argues that, since this classification is role‐dependent, and since one and the same reason can play all of these roles in relation to a particular action, the classification of reasons into those three kinds does not correspond to any ontological difference between them: all reasons are facts (understood as true propositions—in the manner suggested by Strawson). The final sections examine and reject two routes that seem to lead to the conclusion that different reasons belong to different ontological categories.

Keywords: reasons; kinds; ontology; facts; P. F. Strawson; mental states; beliefs; desires; practical reasoning

Chapter.  7982 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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.