What is (Correct) Practical Reasoning?
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This paper argues that practical reasoning is a mental process which leads a person from a set of existent mental states to an intention. In Section 1, I defend this view against two other proposals according to which practical reasoning either concludes in an action itself or in a normative belief. Section 2 discusses the correctness of practical reasoning and explains how the correctness of instrumental reasoning can be explained by the logical relations that hold between the contents of the mental states. In Section 3, I explore the correctness of normative practical reasoning. I conclude with the sceptical view that correct practical reasoning cannot require us to intend to do what we believe we ought to do.
KeywordsPractical reasoning Normative reasoning Instrumental reasoning Correct reasoning
I am very grateful to audiences at Budapest, Cork, and Warwick, and to an anonymous referee of Acta Analytica for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. This paper was written with financial support of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. I thank the Academy for its generous support.
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