The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality

By Robert Audi | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
Experience and Reason

Listening to a fine performance of Beethoven's “Appassionata” from the eighth row just left of center, I am flooded with sounds, fascinated by the sight of the pianist's moving fingers, and conscious of the integration between the two. I hear melodic statement and restatement, the harmony of chords, the grace of delicate arpeggios, the resonance of the bass. I see the sweep of the arms, the intricate work of the fingers, and the spaces appearing and disappearing as the white keys are played. The piano forms the immediate background of what I see as I watch the artist, but I also see the surrounding stage in the distance and, nearer by, the audience sitting in front of me. This experience is utterly dominating. Sound and sight occupy my consciousness completely.

Even thinking about the musical experience itself can detract from the enjoyment of it. A soft overtone is easily missed by divided attention. Yet it can be rewarding to think about such experiences, and philosophers must sometimes do so. My musical experience, as a perceptual response to what I hear and see, is a source of knowledge; and, as an enjoyable response to those sounds and sights, it is a source of value and a ground of rational desire for more of the same. From what I hear and see, there is a great deal that I can know and much that I can appreciate. The sights and sounds provide grounds for a multitude of beliefs about them and for valuing the performance that yields them. On the basis of what I see and hear, I have a great quantity of information—about the colors and shapes of things, the number of people present, the acoustics, the restiveness of someone to my right—far more information than I need. My experience also yields grounds for valuing the performance: it comes

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The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction - Experience and Reason 3
  • Part I - Theoretical Reason 11
  • 1 - Groundwork 13
  • 2 - Superstructure 32
  • Part II - Practical Reason 59
  • 3 - Action, Belief, and Desire 61
  • 4 - The Sources of Practical Reasons 81
  • 5 - Desires, Intentions, and Reasons for Action 108
  • 6 - Others as Ends 135
  • Part III - Rationality and Relativity 169
  • 7 - Relativity, Plurality, and Culture 171
  • 8 - Global Rationality 195
  • Conclusion 227
  • Notes 235
  • Index 277
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