Book Chapter

How Reasons for Action Differ from Reasons for Belief



Millar A (2009) How Reasons for Action Differ from Reasons for Belief. In: Robertson S (ed.) Spheres of Reason: New Essays in the Philosophy of Normativity. Mind Association Occasional Series. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 140-163.

It is assumed to be constitutive of believing that p that one is sensitive to whether or not it is true that p. Sensitivity, it is suggested, requires sensitivity to the requirements imposed by a certain truth-prescription. The truth-prescription dictates that a reason to believe that p must be such that believing that p for that reason is conducive to realizing belief’s constitutive aim. It is argued that there is a constitutive aim of intentional action that can shed light on reasons for action: to act in such a way that one’s action should have an aim-dependent point in the sense that the action should not be pointless given the intention informing it. This is argued to be more plausible than the classical view that the constitutive aim of intentional action is to realize some good.

action; Belief; intention; constitutive aim; reasons for belief; reasons for action; truth prescription

Title of seriesMind Association Occasional Series
Publication date31/12/2009
PublisherOxford University Press
Publisher URL
Place of publicationOxford, UK

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Professor Alan Millar
Professor Alan Millar

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy