The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality

By Robert Audi | Go to book overview

2
SUPERSTRUCTURE

In the moments before the performance, I look at the full keyboard. All but its very top keys are visible to me. Noticing that the piano looks old, I recall that there still are some pianos with eighty-five keys, and I wonder whether this might be one. I then realize that I simply cannot see the top three keys, and I conclude, and in doing so come to believe, that there are the usual eighty-eight. This belief is surely justified in the circumstances; but although my perceptions help to ground it, the belief is not perceptual. It is inferential. It is based on other beliefs of mine which express reasons (or a compound reason) for it: that this is a standard American concert piano, and that such pianos have eighty-eight keys. I did not have to think of these premises before concluding that the piano has eighty-eight keys; my beliefs of them can figure as the basis of my conclusion just as surely as if I had recited them. A belief can arise from other beliefs, and thereby on the basis of premises they represent, without one's thinking of those premises; and when it is so based, then if the premises express an adequate ground for the belief, it may be justified by them. This kind of development of our belief system often takes place naturally. Our beliefs grow, and our perspective thereby widens, not only through focused reflection or laborious inference but also through our unselfconscious cognitive responses to beliefs we already hold.


1. SPONTANEOUS INFERENCE

In many cases, the spontaneity with which some beliefs arise on the basis of others parallels the direct (non-inferential) grounding characteristic of most of our perceptual beliefs. A belief can be based on a visual experi-

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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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