Setting Ends for Oneself through Reason

Andrews Reath

in Spheres of Reason

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199572939
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722165 | DOI:

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

Setting Ends for Oneself through Reason

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Kantians argue that rationality includes a capacity to ‘set ends through reason’, including rationally optional ends. But little attention has been given to the question: ‘In what sense are such ends set through reason rather than given by desire or interest?’ This chapter develops a procedural account, on which rationally setting oneself an end has two distinct ‘moments’: an ‘evaluative moment’, in which one assesses the value of some end in which one has an interest; and a ‘moment of commitment’, in which one adopts the end. Practical reason structures each. Regarding the first moment, sound judgements about the value of an end, result from a procedure of deliberation that incorporates certain formal constraints. Regarding the second, committing oneself to an end that one judges to be worthwhile creates an additional reason or requirement to pursue the end, as long as that commitment remains in place.

Keywords: commitment; Kantian; procedural; rationality; reason; requirement; set ends; value

Chapter.  11296 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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