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Beyond EvolutionHuman Nature and the Limits of Evolutionary Explanation$
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Anthony O'Hear

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198250043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198250045.001.0001

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Immanent and Transcendent Dimensions of Reason

Immanent and Transcendent Dimensions of Reason

Chapter:
(p.14) 2 Immanent and Transcendent Dimensions of Reason
Source:
Beyond Evolution
Author(s):

Anthony O'Hear (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198250045.003.0002

There is a tension between considering humans as creatures of reason and as creatures of nature subject to Nature's categorical imperatives. While reason may raise sceptical doubts about our beliefs and practices, we cannot live as if these doubts were true. It is plausible that some of these deeply held beliefs and practices are so embedded because they promote survival and this might give rise to a Humean view that Nature is too strong for Reason. However, our nature as transcendently self‐conscious rational agents means that we should not abandon all thought of justifying our most basic beliefs in favour of a purely instrumental account of reason. Reason, for self‐conscious agents, has a vertical aspect enabling us to step outside our beliefs and practices and question their validity.

Keywords:   Hume, instrumental reason, justification, Nature, Reason, utility of beliefs

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