Practical Reasoning

Barry Stroud

in Philosophers Past and Present

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608591
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729621 | DOI:
Practical Reasoning

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This chapter takes a few elementary steps into the huge question of how thinking and deliberating about what to do issues in action. It starts from Hume's claims that ‘reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will’ and that ‘it can never oppose passion in the direction of the will’. These claims depend on Hume's view of the passions, in particular desires, and they result in an essentially first-person conception of reasons for action. That idea is present also in Bernard Williams' defence of exclusively ‘internal’ reasons for action. It is argued that questions of what to do or what should be done are not essentially first-personal in any such restricted ‘internal’ sense, even though what is actually done as a result of the deliberation is always up to only one person.

Keywords: Hume; action; reason; will; passion; desire; first-person; Bernard Williams

Chapter.  7524 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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