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The Constitution of AgencyEssays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology$
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Christine M. Korsgaard

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199552733

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552733.001.0001

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Acting for a Reason

Acting for a Reason

(p.207) 7 Acting for a Reason
The Constitution of Agency

Christine M. Korsgaard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Starting from the debate over whether practical reasons are mental states or the facts to which those mental states are a response, this chapter argues that being motivated by a practical reason must be a reflexive form of motivation, that is, a response to a certain content that at the same time involves consciousness of the appropriateness of responding to that content in just that way. This feature of practical reasons is captured only by Kant and Aristotle's accounts of action. For both, the object of choice and the locus of moral value is an act done for the sake of an end. The adoption of a Kantian maxim or an Aristotelian logos is a form of motivation that expresses the agent's endorsement of doing a certain act for a certain end, and so expresses her endorsement of the appropriateness of her own motivation.

Keywords:   act, action, Aristotle, choice, Kant, logos, maxim, motive, reason, reflexive

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