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Philosophical Interpretations$
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Robert J. Fogelin

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195071627

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019507162X.001.0001

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Thinking and Doing

Thinking and Doing

(p.232) 15 Thinking and Doing
Philosophical Interpretations

Robert J. Fogelin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Taking some remarks by Aristotle on the practical syllogism as the starting point, this essay offers an account of how thought can be connected with action and how this connection between thought and action can be adverbially modified. The key idea is that a practical syllogism is composed of a factual premise, a premise that is a conditional imperative, and a conclusion that is an unconditional imperative. The practical reasoner reasons as follows: Wanting drink, a person accepts the conditional imperative “If this is drink, drink it!” and then, because he believes this is drink, he accepts the unconditional imperative “Drink it!” Adverbs of excuse of the kind that J. L. Austin studied can then be explained by noting the ways in which the connection between thought and action can be defective.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Austin, conditional imperatives, excuses, practical syllogisms, unconditional imperatives

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