Reasons and Rationality

Alan H. Goldman

in Reasons from Within

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199576906
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722288 | DOI:
Reasons and Rationality

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Reasons both explain and justify actions. They are states of affairs that motivate rational agents in light of their deeper concerns. Being rational consists in being relevantly informed and coherent. Relevant information is about what it is like to act on one's desires. Coherence is the avoidance of self-defeat, defeat of one's own deepest motivations, and ultimately, of the natural aims of belief and action. The natural aim of belief is truth; the natural aim of action is the satisfaction of those motivations that prompt it. Coherence with these aims requires believing on the basis of evidence, and acting so as to satisfy one's most important informed concerns over time. Our deepest concerns require no reasons in support of them, but they provide reasons for more superficial desires.

Keywords: reasons; rationality; coherence; natural aims

Chapter.  23838 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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