John Gardner and Timothy Macklem

in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270972
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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This article highlights some aspects of the role of human life that has often been misunderstood. Some of the misunderstandings come from the exaggerated expectations of rationality's enthusiasts, while others come from sceptical overreactions to that enthusiasm. It begins by reasserting, against the sceptics, the classical idea that as rational beings we are beings in the world responding to the world. The next section argues that responding to reasons is responding to facts, not responding to one's own construction of the facts. The much-misunderstood contrast between fact and value is touched upon, allowing a clearer view of the relationship between reasons and values. It further explains the importance of incommensurability. Finally, it draws the contrast between being reasonable and being rational. Rationality itself also makes space for the speaking, creating, constructing agent.

Keywords: sceptical; misunderstanding; rationality; reasons; value; incommensurability

Article.  20408 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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