Chapter

Acting for a Reason

Christine M. Korsgaard

in The Constitution of Agency

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552733
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720321 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552733.003.0008
 Acting for a Reason

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Starting from the debate over whether practical reasons are mental states or the facts to which those mental states are a response, this chapter argues that being motivated by a practical reason must be a reflexive form of motivation, that is, a response to a certain content that at the same time involves consciousness of the appropriateness of responding to that content in just that way. This feature of practical reasons is captured only by Kant and Aristotle's accounts of action. For both, the object of choice and the locus of moral value is an act done for the sake of an end. The adoption of a Kantian maxim or an Aristotelian logos is a form of motivation that expresses the agent's endorsement of doing a certain act for a certain end, and so expresses her endorsement of the appropriateness of her own motivation.

Keywords: act; action; Aristotle; choice; Kant; logos; maxim; motive; reason; reflexive

Chapter.  12648 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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