On Our Good Reasons

Project: Research

Project Details

Layman's description

The notion of a good reason is located at the very heart of philosophy. Notwithstanding, there is little consensus concerning its analysis. The project aims to improve our understanding of so-called normative reasons. Special attention is given to two distinctions: agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons, and incomplete and complete reasons.

Philosophers distinguish between theoretical reasons, i.e., reasons for beliefs, and so-called practical reasons, i.e., reasons for actions (in a wide sense of this term). For instance, the fact that it is raining is a reason for believing that it is raining; the very same fact can also be a reason for using your umbrella. Numerous other distinctions have been made over the years. The project is particularly concerned with the distinction between so called normative or good reasons and so-called explanatory reasons. Good reasons explain why we ought to e.g., act in a certain way; explanatory reasons rationalizes an agent’s behavior in terms of the agents beliefs and desires. The project sets out from a widespread idea that reasons are facts – an idea which has been understood in different ways. E.g., reasons can be seen as the obtaining of a state of affairs, or as an aspect of such an obtaining or which is perhaps the more common way, as the content of true possible considerations(propositions). Presently I am examining whether any of these ideas help to illuminate the distinction between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons.
Effective start/end date2010/01/012012/12/31