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Rights, Culture and the LawThemes from the Legal and Political Philosophy of Joseph Raz$
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Lukas H. Meyer, Stanley L. Paulson, and Thomas W. Pogge

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248254

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248254.001.0001

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Are Reasons for Action Beliefs?

Are Reasons for Action Beliefs?

(p.25) 3 Are Reasons for Action Beliefs?
Rights, Culture and the Law


Oxford University Press

Suppose John takes his umbrella because he (rightly, as it turns out) believes that it will rain. Is the reason for him to take his umbrella his belief that it will rain, or is it the fact that it will? According to Joseph Raz, reasons are used to guide behaviour — and people are to be guided by what is the case, not by what they believe to be the case. Reasons-statements are conceptually related to judgements of practical rationality. A satisfactory theory of reasons for action should account for their relationships. Raz's position may be termed an ‘objectivist’ one. This chapter builds what may appear as a natural extension of it, ‘pure’ objectivism about reasons for action, and shows that it is untenable. Pure objectivism's main weakness lies in its failure to account for the relationships existing between reasons-statements, on the one hand, and judgements of practical rationality, on the other.

Keywords:   Joseph Raz, reasons for action, practical rationality, pure objectivism, reasons-statements, beliefs, normative reasons, judgements, compliance, conformity

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