Book

Reason in Action

John Finnis

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580057
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729379 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580057.001.0001
Reason in Action

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This book collects nineteen published and unpublished works presented here as chapters on practical reason. The first nine date from 1970 through to 2008. They include extended critiques of Hume's thesis that reason, being the slave of the passions, concerns means, not ultimate or intrinsically desirable and intelligible ends; of Christine Korsgaard's Kantian development of her successful critique of Hume; of Jürgen Habermas's theory of discourse ethics; of Bernard Williams's semi-Nietzschean theory of truth and its value; of Matthew Kramer's attempted refutation of the chapter showing the self-refutation of scepticism about the value of truth; and of the theories of value or ethics proposed by Philippa Foot, Jacques Maritain, Bernard Lonergan, and others. Part Two groups together critiques of standard accounts of Aristotle's theory of action's ultimate point; of Terence Irwin's puzzlement about whether prudentia (practical reasonableness) extends to the identification and acknowledgement of ends; of Leo Strauss's denial of exceptionless moral norms; and of the accounts of legal reasoning offered by Economic Analysis of Law, by Critical Legal Studies, and by Ronald Dworkin. Part Three begins with a wide-ranging study of commensurability and incommensurability in practical reasoning. Then, after a critique of John Rawls's theory of public reason, the book ends with three early chapters on freedom of speech, with particular but by no means exclusive focus on issues related to pornography and literary-aesthetic distance.

Keywords: practical reason; Hume; Kant; Habermas; self-refutation; Bernard Williams; Leo Strauss; incommensurability; freedom of speech

Book.  384 pages. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Reason in Action

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Self-Refutation Revisited in Reason in Action

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