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Kinds of ReasonsAn Essay in the Philosophy of Action$
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Maria Alvarez

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199550005

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550005.001.0001

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Reasons, Kinds, Ontology

Reasons, Kinds, Ontology

Chapter:
(p.32) 2 Reasons, Kinds, Ontology
Source:
Kinds of Reasons
Author(s):

Maria Alvarez (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550005.003.0003

This chapter examines various kinds of reasons. It classifies reasons into three kinds: justifying, motivating, and explanatory, on account of the three main roles that reasons can play outlined in the previous chapter. It emphasizes the importance of keeping apart the motivating and explanatory roles of reasons, because conflating them has led to a number of mistakes and confused arguments.

It further argues that, since this classification is role‐dependent, and since one and the same reason can play all of these roles in relation to a particular action, the classification of reasons into those three kinds does not correspond to any ontological difference between them: all reasons are facts (understood as true propositions—in the manner suggested by Strawson). The final sections examine and reject two routes that seem to lead to the conclusion that different reasons belong to different ontological categories.

Keywords:   reasons, kinds, ontology, facts, P. F. Strawson, mental states, beliefs, desires, practical reasoning

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