On defective rationalization of action

Lennart Nordenfelt

in Rationality and Compulsion

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780199214853
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754517 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

On defective rationalization of action

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So far I have attempted to lay a foundation for the real topic of this part of the essay, namely defective rationalization of action, or the idea of a defective reason for action. I have given an account of intentions and wants and their conceptual relations to actions. I have attempted to show the dispositional nature of wants and intentions and thereby the way in which they can stand in an explanatory relationship to actions. It is important that this explanatory relation may very well be causal in nature. I have also attempted to demonstrate the nature of rationalization, which is the particular relation that reasons have to actions in a deliberative situation. I say – with a slight twist of proper speech – that a certain set of wants and beliefs of an agent A can rationalize A's acting in a certain way. (What is strictly speaking rationalizing is the content of the wants and beliefs.) Rationalization is a relation totally different from causation. However, the issue can be confused, because the same wants and beliefs as rationalize an action can function (and indeed typically do) as the causes of the same action. In this chapter, let me develop the comparison between rationalization and causation a bit further.

Chapter.  13712 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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