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Confusion of TonguesA Theory of Normative Language$
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Stephen Finlay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347490.001.0001

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Explaining Reasons

Explaining Reasons

(p.85) 4 Explaining Reasons
Confusion of Tongues

Stephen Finlay

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a unifying semantics for ‘reason’ as used in talk about explanatory reasons, normative reasons, and motivating reasons. The word is analyzed as meaning explanation why, and normative reasons for an agent to act are analyzed as explanations why it is good in some contextually salient way, for that agent to act. Combined with the end-relational theory of ‘good’, this account extends to normative reasons for attitudes, including reasons for belief, and to subjective and motivating reasons. Topics discussed include the agent-relativity, gradability, and factiveness of reasons, and the meaning of the possessive.

Keywords:   reason, reasons, explanation, good, attitudes, belief, subjective, motivating, possessive, gradability

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