Acting for Reasons

Robert Audi

Acting for Reasons

En: The Philosophical Review. Vol. 95, No. 4, 1986, pp. 511-546.


“If we do not know for what reasons a person acts, we do not fully understand that person. If we do not know any reason for which an agent does something, we cannot adequately assess whether, in doing it, that agent is acting rationally. And if Kant is right, unless we know the reason(s) for which an action is performed, we do not know its moral worth. But what is it to act for a reason? Clearly, acting for a reason is closely related to acting intentionally, to acting rationally, and to acting on the basis of practical reasoning. An action for a reason apparently must be intentional; an action based on practical reasoning must be performed for a reason; and at least the paradigms of rational action must be intentional. Whether there are some equivalences among these notions will be discussed below. Let us begin by laying out some guiding assumptions.”

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