Reasoning Practically

Reasoning Practically

Reasoning Practically

Reasoning Practically

Synopsis

This collection of essays presents cutting-edge research on a classic philosophical problem --- the link between reasoning and practice. The essays, by such well-known thinkers as Davidson, Scheffler, Sunstein, Dworkin, and Stroud, cover a range of issues raised by the move from thought to action. The book represents an inquiry into the very nature of reason, reasoning and reasons, rationale, rationalization, and rationality. These essays also connect philosophical thought with concrete issues in social life and political practice, thus, it will be of interest not only to philosophers, but also to political theorists, legal scholars, and any researcher interested in the practical applications of reason.

Excerpt

Edna Ullmann-Margalit

Taken broadly, reasoning practically is an enquiry into the nature of reason, reasoning, and reasons--as well as of rationale, rationalization, and rationality. It is meant to ponder how we think about what to do, how we move from thinking to doing, and what may come between our thinking and our doing. All of this offers a wide scope for philosophizing. Hume said, famously, that when we act, our reason is slave to our passions. Kant said, famously, that among the four big questions a philosopher should address are What can I know, and What am I to do? Practical reason deals with the link, often elusive, between the realm of reason and the province of practice. It is concerned to find out how far can a parallel be pushed between practical reasoning, which is about what I am to do, and theoretical reasoning, which is about what I am to believe--and where this parallel breaks down.

To gain a better understanding of practical reasoning, it may be helpful to focus further on what distinguishes practical from theoretical reasoning. One approach to answering this question emphasizes the qualifier "practical," the other emphasizes the component of "reasoning." According to the first approach, the two types of reasoning differ in their subject matter: they are supposed to be about different things. According to the second approach, the two types of reasoning are supposed to differ in their logic.

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