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Reasons for action, acting for reasons, and rationality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3293-3310
Number of pages18
Issue number8
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Accepted/In press22 Dec 2015
E-pub ahead of print25 Jan 2016
Published1 Aug 2018


King's Authors


What kind of thing is a reason for action? What is it to act for a reason? And what is the connection between acting for a reason and rationality? There is controversy about the many issues raised by these questions. In this paper I shall answer the first question with a conception of practical reasons that I call ‘Factualism’, which says that all reasons are facts. I defend this conception against its main rival, Psychologism, which says that practical reasons are mental states or mental facts, and also against a variant of Factualism that says that some practical reasons are facts and others are false beliefs. I argue that the conception of practical reasons defended here (i) provides plausible answers to the second and third questions above; and (ii) gives a more unified and satisfactory picture of practical reasons than those offered by its rivals.

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