Reason in Action collects John Finnis's work on practical reason and moral philosophy. Ranging from foundational issues of meta-ethics to modern ethical debates, the essays trace the emergence and development of his new classical theory of natural law through close engagement with a broad range of contemporary thinkers and problems.
Ingmar Persson offers an original view of the processes of human action: deliberating on the basis of reasons for and against actions, making a decision about what to do, and from there implementing the decision in action in a way that makes the action intentional. Persson's analysis is mainly developed to suit physical actions, though how it needs to be modified to cover mental acts is also discussed. The interpretation of intentional action that is presented is reductionist in the sense that it does not appeal to any concepts that are distinctive of the domain of action theory, such as a unique type of agent-causation, or irreducible mental acts, like acts of will, volitions, decisions, or tryings. Nor does it appeal to any unanalyzed attitudes or states essentially related to intentional action, like intentions and desires to act. Instead, the intentionality of actions is construed as springing from desires conceived as physical states of agents which cause facts because of the way agents think of them. A sense of our having responsibility that is sufficient for our acting for reasons is also sketched out.
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Philosophers writing on the subject of human action have found it tempting to introduce their subject by raising Wittgenstein's question, 'What is left over if you subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?' The presumption is that something of particular interest is involved in an action of raising an arm that is not present in a mere bodily movement, and the philosopher's task is to specify just what this is. Unfortunately, such an approach does not take us very far, since a person could properly be said to raise his (or her) arm while asleep or hypnotized even though he (or she) would not be performing an action in the sense of 'action' with which philosophers are particularly concerned. To avoid this kind of difficulty I shall approach the subject of human action is a more academic way: I shall expound some important rival theories of human action, and introduce the relevant issues by commenting critically on those theories. One of the issues I eventually introduce is a metaphysical one. A theory of action makes sense, I contend, only on the assumption that there are such 'things' as actions (or events). After considering some key arguments bearing on the issue I conclude that, as matters currently stand in philosophy, a metaphysically noncommittal attitude toward actions and events seems justified.
Engaging Reason offers a penetrating examination of a set of fundamental questions about human thought and action. In these tightly argued and interconnected essays Joseph Raz examines the nature of normativity, reason, and the will; the justification of reason; and the objectivity of value. He argues for the centrality, but also demonstrates the limits, of reason in action and belief. He suggests that our life is most truly our own when our various emotions, hopes, desires, intentions, and actions are guided by reason. He explores the universality of value and of principles of reason on one side, and on the other side their dependence on social practices, and their susceptibility to change and improvement. He concludes with an illuminating explanation of self-interest and its relation to impersonal values in general and to morality in particular. Joseph Raz has been since the 1970s a prominent, original, and widely admired contributor to the study of norms, values, and reasons, not just in philosophy but in political and legal theory. This volume displays the power and unity of his thought on these subjects, and will be essential reading for all who work on them.
Public Reason and Political Community defends the liberal ideal of public reason against its critics, but as a form of moral compromise for the sake of civic friendship rather than as a consequence of respect for persons as moral agents. At the heart of the principle of public justification is an idealized unanimity requirement, which can be framed in at least two different ways. Is it our reasons for political decisions that have to be unanimously acceptable to qualified points of view, otherwise we exclude them from deliberation, or is it coercive state action that must be unanimously acceptable, otherwise we default to not having a common rule or policy, on the issue at hand? Andrew Lister explores the 'anti-perfectionist dilemma' that results from this ambiguity. He defends the reasons model on grounds of the value of political community, and applies it to recent debates about marriage.
Emotion and Reason in Consumer Behavior provides new insights into the effects that emotion and rational thought have on marketing outcomes. It uses sound academic research at a level students and professionals can understand.
Tanney challenges not only the cognitivist approach that has dominated philosophy and the special sciences for fifty years, but metaphysical-empirical approaches to the mind in general. Rules, Reason, and Self-Knowledge advocates a return to the world-involving, circumstance-dependent, normative practices where the rational mind has its home.
The concept of practical reason is central to contemporary thought on ethics and the philosophy of law - acting well means acting for good reasons. Explaining this requires several stages. How do reasons relate to actions at all, as incentives and in explanations? What are values, how do they relate to human nature, and how do they enter practical reasoning? How do the concepts of 'right and wrong' fit in, and in what way do they involve questions of mutual trust among human beings? How does our moral freedom - our freedom to form our own moral commitments - relate to our responsibilities to each other? How is this final question transposed into law and legal commitments? This book explores these questions, vital to understanding the nature of law and morality. It presents a clear account of practical reason, valuable to students of moral philosophy and jurisprudence at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. For more advanced scholars it also offers a reinterpretation of Kant's views on moral autonomy and Smith's on self-command, marrying Smith's 'moral sentiments' to Kant's 'categorical imperative' in a novel way. The book concludes and underpins the author's Law, State, and Practical Reason series. Taken together the books offer an overarching theory of the nature of law and legal reason, the role of the State, and the nature of moral reason and judgement.