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Action, Knowledge, and Will$
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John Hyman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735779.001.0001

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Reason and Knowledge

Reason and Knowledge

(p.133) 6 Reason and Knowledge
Action, Knowledge, and Will

John Hyman

Oxford University Press

The concepts of reason, explanation, and justification are examined in this chapter. Various factors involved in explanations of intentional action that are commonly called reasons are distinguished, including mental states and their contents. The popular idea that intentional action can be defined in terms of agents’ reasons is criticized, on the grounds that intentional action is a manifestation of desire, whereas action done for reasons is a manifestation of knowledge or belief. In the final part of the chapter, an important kind of explanation of intentional action is examined, exemplified by ‘James went to church because it would please his mother’, in which the explanatory clause as a whole expresses the agent’s ground. It is argued that explanations of this kind attribute knowledge of the explanans to the agent, and not merely belief.

Keywords:   reason, explanation, justification, belief, desire, intention

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